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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Complex case? Then use the mediator to assist in the process design.

Many complex cases would benefit from the early involvement of the chosen mediator to explore with the parties the scope of the mediation and the way in which the process should best be tailored.

Recognising the right cases for this approach requires the solicitors handling the immediate litigation to look up and see the broader picture at an early stage in their discussions leading to mediation (for example, does a dispute over a distribution agreement have related intellectual property issues in another jurisdiction?).  In the context of a large commercial dispute, the cost of early involvement of a mediator is negligible compared to the overall costs of the litigation or of the parties’ own advisers in the mediation.  In such cases, confining the role of the mediator to the day of the mediation is a mistake, often arising out of a belief that the solicitor is doing the best job for the client by keeping the costs of the mediation to a minimum.  In reality, the clients’ best opportunity for settling multi-jurisdictional or otherwise complex commercial disputes is in the early involvement of the mediator in discussing how and what to get to mediation.  The mediator can then mediate as necessary between the parties as to the best route to take them through a possibly complex web of litigation.

Mediator: Elizabeth Birch

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