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The Perils of Ignoring Mediation

April 28th, 2014

The Perils of Ignoring Mediation

This week our blog takes a look into the perils of ignoring mediation, it turns out it could cost you a pretty penny, let us set the scene;

You are a business owner in a dispute with another business owner over the payment of goods supplied. You apply to undertake court proceedings to settle the dispute.

The other business owner sends you a letter offering to undertake mediation to reach a mutually amicable solution but you refuse to respond to the mediation offer.

You go to court and win your case but your jubilation is soon punctured as the court sanctions cost penalties against you for failing to respond to the offer of mediation.

So now, even though you have won your case at court you have serious costs applied to you for refusing to reply to the offer of mediation.

Situations like this are occuring in court rooms across the country in many types of disputes where one party either refuses to mediate for no good reason or commonly refuses to reply to even the offer of mediation.

The courts however are keen for people to seek methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (often abbreviated to ADR) like mediation.

So when offered the opportunity to mediate it may be prudent to accept the offer rather than unreasonably refuse or not reply, there is a great little article on ICAEW here that reviews why courts may see it as unreasonable to refuse the offer to mediate and provide cost sanctions.

But cost sanctions aren't the only perils you face by going to court and ignoring mediation.

As a general rule court proceedings tend to be more expensive than mediation. You have to pay for the courts time, the judges time and your own legal fees.

Even after you have paid out all of this money there is no guarantee that court proceedings will go your way, you could very well end up with nothing

Mediation costs are generally lower than court room battles, seriously lower, not to mention it is unlikely you will walk away with nothing because mediation is about helping you to reach a mutually agreed resolution with other parties, as crazy as this sounds sometimes this can be as simple as to listen and empathize with the other party (see Dunnett v Railtrack)

That is all for this weeks blog, thank you very much for reading and don't forget the perils of ignoring mediation.

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MIAM Explained

April 22nd, 2014

MIAM Explained


Recently you may have heard a lot of people talking about 'MIAM' or to give it its full name 'Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings'. MIAM has been on the news, in the headlines and flooding the internet. This weeks blog is going to break MIAM down, cut through the confusion and tell you what you need to know.

What is MIAM?

Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings (MIAM) is a special type of meeting that you attend before applying for court proceedings if you are in a dispute with an ex partner or struggling to settle your seperation.

The idea is that attending one of these meetings will save you the time, financial expense and hassle of taking your dispute through the courts.

To quickly break it down, going through the courts could take you anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months before you get a resolution, and even then it might not be a resolution you are happy with because it will be ordered by a judge rather than you having any say in it.

In contrast mediation can take a few days and the goal is to end with a resolution that both parties are happy with, you each compromise a little and get some of what you want.

Court proceedings can start at around £1,000 and go up to - well the sky's the limit, mediation can be much more cost effective.

How Am I Affected?

It is mandatory for you to attend a MIAM before a court will consider your application.

It is a great way for you and your ex partner to come to an amicable agreement to both get some of what you want whilst saving yourselves from the trauma of court.

Why Is It In The News?

MIAMs are in the news because they have become mandatory as of 22/04/14. It is a pretty big move that will affect a lot of people, infact it has been called by some as the most important reform for a generation.

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Marathons & Mediation

April 14th, 2014

Marathons & Mediation

     Last weekend saw tens of thousands of people taking to the streets of London to run the famous marathon, raising huge amounts of money for charities and completing personal goals. 

     In an introspective moment it got us thinking about some of the parallels that can be drawn between being a mediator and running a marathon.

It’s A Marathon Not A Sprint

     You are in your running gear and you feel pumped to tear up the asphalt. You set off running at what must easily be 100mph and it is great, the wind is streaming through your hair and passers-by stop and gawk in awe at your mighty running form as they pass by you in a blur.

     But then something goes horribly wrong; you start gasping, you can feel a cramp, your legs are aching and you have no energy left. Rapidly what was a mighty run down shifts into a jog, a walk, an exhausted crawl across the pavement.

                You have to remember “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”

     When looking to resolve a dispute you can begin with the best of intentions but soon find the process to become a lot slower than you hoped and in the worst instance proceedings can sputter and stall as you run out gas.

     You have to remember that your motivation levels alone will not be enough to suddenly resolve an entrenched conflict. As part of any resolution all parties need time to voice their point of view and have it listened to and taken into account, you have to be prepared to rework through the finer points of any resolution and sometimes to go over old ground to enable some parties to move forwards. All of this takes time and energy and you should treat as such.

                 Approach mediation like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Hitting The Wall

     We have all hit the proverbial wall at some point, commonly cited by runners who reach a point where everything is hurting, they have fallen out of rhythm and feel that they can’t go on anymore.

     But for those that find a way to keep going, for those that push through “the wall” they find a well of energy and power on the other side that carries them through the rest of the race with ease.

     In mediation obstacles and barriers will frequently be thrown up in the way of conflict resolution, the more entrenched and passionate a dispute the greater and more frequent these obstacles can be, until it seems you are pushing against a wall of resistance, pushing against a wall of deep seated anguish and grievance.

     This isn’t the time to admit defeat, pack up and go home. This is the time to add a little bit more, because this wall is the foundation of the entire argument and on the other side of it is attainable, lasting resolution for all parties.


     It would be lovely to go from being a couch potato to running a marathon but sadly not very realistic. Running a marathon takes time and training, through constantly applying yourself you acquire new skills and abilities and get better at running.

     You can approach mediation with the best of intentions and can certainly have some success. However unless you are mediating full time it is important to know when to call in an outside professional mediator who has the skills and training to handle your case.

     If you already are a mediator it can’t hurt to get yourself some new skills and extra training by attending mediation courses.


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Free Online Webinar – Mediation in Business Disputes

October 19th, 2011

Is an unresolved dispute getting in the way of your business? Are you facing the expense, delay and distraction of an impending court case? If this sounds familiar, commercial mediation could hold the key to resolving a variety of business disputes.

Commercial mediation is used for disputes where an amount of money or supply of goods/services is in dispute. Mediation is fast, confidential, without prejudice, inexpensive, and able to generate outcomes that would not usually be achievable by going to court. If you wanted to gather some further information about commercial mediation, why not join us for a FREE online webinar: Mediation in Business – taking the cost out of conflict

The webinar will cover:

  • A definition of commercial mediation
  • The types of dispute that typically require commercial mediation
  • The benefits and costs that can be saved when using commercial mediation

The webinar will last for 50 minutes, and is followed by 10 minutes for questions at the end.

To book a place on this popular webinar, please contact us.

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We need a counsellor!

September 22nd, 2011

Are you a counsellor or psychotherapist who is thinking about training in mediation? If so, we have last minute availability on our forthcoming Accredited Mediation Training for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. This will be running from Monday 3rd – Thursday 6th October at our London branch.

This course is specialised for counsellors and psychotherapists, as we recognise that many of the basic skills required for mediation will already have been learnt by professionals in these fields. Run by our managing director, Mike Talbot, a UKCP-registered gestalt psychotherapist, this course will equip you to competently run mediation sessions, and consider the similarities between mediation and the counselling and psychotherapy professions.

Book now to secure your place on a popular course that will stretch your skill-base and provide you with an extra source of income.

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