An electrical engineer was contracted to provide services to a medium-sized retailer. The retailer was then taken over by a national chain of shops and following the takeover the national chain then tried to cancel the contract with the engineer.
There was a clash of cultures at the heart of this dispute – as the large chain was used to using process and documentation but the sole trader engineer, preferred to just give informal quotations for their work.
The company didn’t pay the engineers’ invoices so he took them to court for £250,000.
The case was shortly to go to trial when the mediation took place. The relationship between the two sides in the dispute had deteriorated to the point where they were only speaking through lawyers. At the start neither side would have considered that the business relationship could be saved.
Although each side was firm in their views about the contract they had between each other, as a consequence of the mediator talking to them about the different options and what might happen at court they found they could talk to each other more calmly. They both had solicitors with them to help them examine the different element of their dispute. By the end of the mediation they started talking about how they could work together again and agreed a payment to end the dispute.
The mediator took 5 hours to prepare for the mediation by talking to everyone and reading the legal papers. The mediation started at 9 in the morning and finished with the agreement being signed in the early evening.