At MKB Law it is our experience that mediation works more often than not, and is typically more cost-effective, quicker and user-friendly than any Court case. We have bought into the process to such an extent that our Director Gordon McElroy has trained as and become an accredited Mediator and member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Dispute Resolution Service.
Alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) is gaining real currency with politicians, judges and professional bodies. Court proceedings have their other draw-backs too. Clients feel that:
• they lose “ownership”
• cases take too long to come to trial
• the giving of evidence is too traumatic
• Judges are restricted in the remedies they have power to award
• they become polarised from and therefore increasingly acrimonious towards their “opponent” when a less adversarial approach could salvage a relationship
Mediation is one form of ADR. Parties to a dispute can voluntarily appoint a mediator who will attempt to independently facilitate a settlement. His or her role is neutral with the parties retaining control of the entire process. Agreement will not be imposed and the mediator will not express an opinion on the respective merits. Confidentiality is paramount, and if the mediation is unsuccessful any concessions made during its course cannot subsequently be relied on. The environment is considerably more relaxed than the gladiatorial arena of the Courts. A party can opt out at any time.