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Civil Disputes in Court vs Mediation

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Civil disputes and costly court battles could be about to change as more and more mediation is seen as the way forward.

The Justice Secretary has called for attempts to settle civil disputes to be made much easier and for court to be an ultimate and final option in an evolving legal system.

This new proposal would affect many areas of the law which deal with disputed cases, not just commercial and civil disputes, but also areas of contentious probate when Wills are disputed.

The scheme would involve more settlements out of court and pave the way for a managed mediation process.

Currently, in certain locations, a voucher scheme is helping to pay for the mediation process and this is being tested across family law for divorcing couples.  This is a taxpayer funded solution which it is hoped avoids lengthy court processes and helps families move on with their lives.  The new system would be based on this type of process.

The courts wholeheartedly support dispute resolution by mediation as an alternative to court proceedings.  Judges have the power to impose financial sanctions on those parties who refuse to try mediation without any reasonable excuse.

How does mediation work?

When appointed a mediator helps both parties come to a mutually acceptable solution through negotiation. Each party is met individually, there is a review of all the facts and legal arguments and a decision is made.  This is however not a binding decision, it is hoped that it helps the parties reach an agreement which is then recorded in writing.

Mediation can be arranged in a relatively short timescale usually involving one day of meetings at a neutral venue and is considerably cheaper and quicker than going to court.

Whilst court will always remain an option open to clients it is hoped that the proposed system will speed up the process and allow all parties to move forward.

“Many cases settle before court as it stands, but this proposal will help those for whom the whole litigation process is daunting.  It is proposed from the smallest of minor civil dispute case, right through to multi-million pound commercial disputes and I look forward to seeing further information on how it will work,” said Asa Cocker, part of the Litigation team at Pearson Solicitors.

“It remains to be seen whether the scheme will be successful and rolled out generally across all litigated disputes. If so, it could fundamentally change the litigation process,” added Asa.

For advice on civil dispute contact Pearsons Civil Litigation Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email enquries@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Asa Cocker

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