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Barristers at Mediation – Help or Hinderance?

Barristers at Mediation – Help or Hinderance?


“Barristers at mediations. Help or hindrance?” reads the provocative headline of Alistair Pye’s latest article. The last thing anyone needs at a difficult and personal mediation, he says, is “a lawyer with an ego”. Can you relate to his concerns?

Speaking from his own experience as a barrister, Alistair gives practical suggestions for solicitors and barristers at mediations.

Barristers at Mediation - Help or Hinderance?

This old chestnut came back to haunt me recently in a complex multi-party mediation of an inheritance dispute.

We mediators know all too well that inheritance disputes are some of the most difficult cases to mediate. They are intensely personal. Joint sessions are almost always impossible. When the disputants are in the grip of powerful, sometimes uncontrollable emotions it is incumbent on their lawyers to support them and nurse them through the day. It is equally incumbent on the lawyers to allow the mediator to do his or her job.

Communication; collaboration; co-operation. These are needed in spades in difficult mediations. If the disputants are too wrapped up in their own emotions, then it is down to their representatives to step up and practice the Three Cs on their clients’ behalf.

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