Legal Guides

We use plain and simple English to give you an overview of the most common areas of law.

What is Mediation?

Let’s talk Mediation. It involves an independent, neutral person (helpfully known as a mediator) facilitating a discussion to help form a settlement (a mutually agreeable compromise) between you and the other party. Call us old fashioned, but we strongly recommend you use a mediator who is neutral, experienced and suitable for the job.

It really needs to be someone agreed by you and the other party, as they should be someone who will be trusted by both of you.

The Civil Procedure Rules suggest Mediation as one of the four types of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

What will a mediator do?

Throughout the Mediation process the mediator will:

  • Allow you and the other party to tell your stories;
  • Encourage each of you to consider your commercial or other interests, rather than your legal rights;
  • NOT express their own view.

What is the Mediation process?

The Mediation process is as follows:

  • Identify and instruct a mediator;
  • Before Mediation begins you and the other party will exchange case summaries. This will enable the mediator to familiarise themselves with the case;
  • At the beginning of Mediation all of you will either first meet together or separately to provide the mediator with an opening statement outlining the key issues;
  • Then there will be private meetings in confidence between the mediator and you (and separately between the mediator and the other party) where the mediator will try and establish what is important to each of you and where there can be room for compromise;
  • The mediator will then go from party to party (i.e. between you and the other party) trying to bring your positions closer together until an agreement can be reached;
  • You will then all sign an agreement to bind you and the other party; it can be enforced by the courts should problems arise.

The aim of Mediation is for you and the other party to compromise for the long-term best interests of each of you, and to settle the matter as quickly as possible.

The benefits of Mediation:

  • Mediation can produce an agreement which you and the other party are happy with rather than a Court imposed decision.
  • These types of agreement are more likely to work out in practice than those which are imposed.

The risks of Mediation:

  • There could be situations where there is an imbalance of power between the parties which can make face to face Mediation unfair. In these situations a party may prefer to go to Court.
  • The downfall of mediation is that (like most ADR procedures) it is not legally binding.

How long does Mediation take?

It is usual for Mediation to last a full day, but it may take longer.

How much will it cost?

The cost of Mediation can vary depending on the type used:

Community MediationCommunity Mediation is usually free. However, some may charge a small fee. Small claims Mediation is provided by the Courts for free. In these cases the small claims mediator contacts you and the other party to arrange a face to face Mediation if both of you are willing.

Civil and Commercial Mediation The average cost for Civil or Commercial Mediation can be around £1,500 – £3,000 per party with both sides agreeing to pay their own costs.

What next?

We recommend you arrange a face-to-face chat with a lawyer to plan your next steps. Select one who will truly look after you and who you feel will act in your best interests. A good place to start is by asking friends, colleagues and family for personal recommendations.

Settle on a Mediation solicitor who you can feel comfortable with. Tell them your situation and they’ll be able to advise you as to whether you have a strong case. You might have to share personal details with them, so it’s a good idea to be honest and open.

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic.

Published on 25th January 2013
(Last updated 14th July 2023)