12 April 2024

Mediation - Navigating Disputes With Constructive Conflict Resolution

Commercial disputes are always an unwelcome intervention in day-to-day business for any company. Prompt settlement of invoices ensures that a business can trade effectively.
UK Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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Commercial disputes are always an unwelcome intervention in day-to-day business for any company. Prompt settlement of invoices ensures that a business can trade effectively. When there is a default or a dispute and payments are delayed, it may seriously disrupt a company's ability to meet its own financial obligations which can have serious implications, impacting on credit rating, and reputation and can even risk the survival of the business.

Timely payment of invoices is crucial for maintaining continuous cash flow, therefore, when a dispute arises between two parties, it is imperative to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to limit the "knock-on" effect of late payment to suppliers, employees, VAT and tax authorities – just to name some of the financial responsibilities that companies are liable for.

Legal action is costly and time-consuming, further draining the resources of a business, whilst a highly effective alternative is mediation. Mediation is notably less expensive and quicker than Court proceedings and can be considerably less stressful.

Mediation may have received a reputational blow following the revelations surrounding the Post Office scandal depicted in its dramatisation, where mediation was attempted but failed. However, Susie Zaffran of the London School of Mediation pointed out with regard to the Post Office mediation, "...A point worth noting as a mediator is the fact that mediation was attempted, but failed. It failed because the Post Office were dishonest and the sub-postmasters walked out. For a mediation to run, all participants must behave in good faith. Intimidation, deception and bullying have no place at mediation..."

Alessandra Paduano, an associate, commented "Mediation allows the parties to outline arguments in full in a neutral non-threatening environment. It is often the first time the parties are able to fully explain their point of view and nearly always results in a solution that is acceptable to all" Alessandra further mentioned "Mediation is a cost-effective exercise and extremely flexible, the final decision remains with the parties directly involved. Mediation remains confidential meaning that the discussions and any documentation to support the arguments may not be discussed with third parties. It takes place in private, as opposed to a Court of law, which is open to the public, including the press. Further, mediation can improve the relationships and opportunities for the parties involved and preserve such relationships, especially in the case of commercial disputes."

There is no requirement for either party to be represented by a lawyer but it is strongly recommended that both parties are guided by their lawyers.

The Lawyer's Role

  • outline the process from start to finish to prepare a client
  • develop a strategy after considering all possible outcomes to ensure that a client is pre-warned of the options
  • Draft a statement of the position for the mediator
  • Draft a statement of the position for the opponent
  • Assist the client to focus on compromise
  • Assist in salvaging the business relationship between the parties

Steps to Mediation

  • A trained impartial mediator is appointed
  • Possibly a joint ice-breaking session will take place to establish the issues
  • The mediator will then speak with each party separately
  • The mediator will eliminate negativity in the discussions and oblige the participants to think positively towards the resolution
  • When the discussions have concluded the mediator will suggest what they consider to be the best solution

Giambrone & Partners commercial lawyers have assisted a considerable number of clients in mediation. Independent studies demonstrate that in the majority of cases mediation leads to settlement agreements when parties actively participate in the process and engage in good faith negotiations. Additionally, the business relationship between the parties is often preserved. Our highly experienced lawyers guide and advise throughout the process.

Alessandra Paduano''s expertise extends to a variety of areas. She specialises in personal injury and has extensive experience helping clients who have had accidents at work that have resulted in suffering serious life-changing consequences.

Alessandra has a meticulous eye for detail and strong analytical skills, which coupled with her personable approach, allow her to work efficiently and to a high standard.

She believes in establishing a good relationship with clients and strives to exceed their expectations. Alessandra understands each client has different needs and ensures that she tailors her advice and approach in acknowledgement of this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

12 April 2024

Mediation - Navigating Disputes With Constructive Conflict Resolution

UK Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration


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