Mediation during COVID-19
This week the Government announced its roadmap to lift the lockdown restrictions but so far, this guidance does not include any changes to the workings of the civil courts and tribunals.
As far as possible, court cases continue to be undertaken remotely using video or telephone technology but, as we have already seen, a number of courts are closed and many cases continue to be disrupted. Parties to a civil dispute have always been encouraged to consider alternative dispute resolution (‘ADR’) to settle their disputes with court proceedings being the last resort but arguably, ADR has never been more important.
Mediation is an extremely effective form of ADR and can assist parties to settle their disputes. An independent third party works closely with the parties to negotiate a settlement without recourse to expensive and stressful court proceedings.
There are a number of benefits of mediation including:
- Time– parties often consider mediation at an early stage in the dispute which means their case generally settle far sooner than relying on litigation.
- Cost – mediation is more cost-effective than going to court
- Control – parties are actively involved in negotiating any settlement and often agree to commercial terms which the courts do not have the power to make.
- Confidentiality – mediation discussions are confidential which means that nothing from it can be subsequently used in court if the process breaks down.
Whilst mediation traditionally relies on face-to-face contact, there is no reason why a successful outcome cannot be obtained by using remote mediation during lockdown. All that is required is a good internet connection and our team of Dispute specialist will be able to help with the rest.
The Covid-19 pandemic has called for innovation and flexibility within civil disputes and remote mediation is rising up to face this challenge.
We Can Help You
If you are in a dispute and you can’t resolve it yourself, please contact us for more information. We will work with you to help you get you the best outcome.
For specific advice about your case, please contact our specialist Disputes team through this website or by calling 0330 404 0738.
This information is correct at 9.30am on 14 May 2020.
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