“Mediation is an extremely versatile settlement tool that can be used in a variety of different settings.” says Chris Robinson who specialises on intellectual property disputes.
His practical advice applies to any case in civil or commercial mediation. During the Covid-19 crisis many conflicts arise due to unforeseen circumstances. While many court cases have come to a halt, mediation can be successfully practised remotely: “The ability to mediate remotely will allow clients to undertake this even during the Pandemic.”
Litigation is inevitable in the current economic climate. However, the perception is that settlement might be more difficult to achieve without face to face meetings or access to ADR. Mediation is one way that disputes can still be settled even if the traditional style mediation in the same location is not possible.
What form does mediation take?
Traditionally mediation involves instructing a mediator, who will be given position statements (a summary of either side’s view of the dispute) by both parties prior to the mediation. At the mediation itself, the parties will meet in one room for an initial meeting with the mediator, then retire to separate rooms and make offers in attempt to settle a dispute. The mediator will work with the parties in order to help them resolve their dispute. If a settlement is concluded, the parties will often sign a settlement agreement at the end of the mediation.
Can I mediate during lockdown?
Although social distancing requirements prohibit parties from meeting in person, a number of UK based mediation companies are offering online or telephone-based mediation. This in itself could have a number of benefits – cutting down the costs of travel and renting mediation rooms, and potentially giving the parties more dates for mediation (especially when clients are based in foreign jurisdictions, and allowing individuals to attend the mediation for only part of it). Documents can also be provided electronically, reducing the need for hard copy bundles of case documents to be provided.