Considering alternative paths for Access to Justice in the future – Roberts Jackson open the door to Mediation
Three of Roberts Jackson’s most experienced solicitors have added a new string to their bow. After training at UCLAN (The University of Central Lancashire) in Preston, Brian Robinson, Nimish Patel and Sam Harris are now qualified mediators.
Mediation as an alternative process to litigation in the UK is increasingly seen as an effective and less expensive form of dispute resolution. It is actively encouraged by the court system as a quicker, cheaper and less stressful way of settling disputes between parties in lots of different aspects of law. A pilot scheme was launched in Manchester on 1 September last year, encouraging parties to use mediation as a low-cost means of resolving disputes across the board and can be applied regardless of the size of damages involved..
The skills required by a mediator differ vastly from those of a litigator. Instead of the standard adversarial format of the courtroom, mediation covers the same facts but in a less emotional and stressful format, with both parties able to present their case calmly whilst the mediator takes time to listen to both sides. Roberts Jackson used mediation to great effect in two high value cases last year which both resolved due to negotiations.
Brian, an Associate Director at Roberts Jackson, explained:
“There’s no doubt that the judicial system sees mediation as the way forward. Judges, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Civil Justice Council, Lord Justice Jackson – all are keen for mediation to be considered as a first step in dispute resolution. Some litigators might be sceptical that mediation can work. I’d say be open-minded and give it a go. It’s a much less stressful process than litigation.”
Nimish, who is also an Associate Director, added:
“Courts are shutting and the judiciary want cases to be resolved out of court. The waiting lists to get heard are so long now – it makes sense to pursue a quicker, cheaper route. People are now taking degrees in law and mediation and it’s clear it’s the way forward. I conducted my first mediation as a mediator last month and am looking forward to doing many more”
Sam, who is a Senior Solicitor, added:
“ With the advent of fixed recoverable costs throughout Personal Injury litigation, I feel the time is right for a culture change from practitioners in the PI arena to consider the greater use of mediation in suitable cases. The days of dismissing mediation out of hand are over. The Courts are promoting the concept to practitioners increasingly. The advantages of quick, flexible and cost-effective settlements can benefit both Claimants and Defendants. I am now actively considering mediation in relation to my own cases where I believe it would benefit the Claimant and I am looking forward to expanding in my role as a mediator into a range of legal areas outside my usual practice.”
Roberts Jackson are now looking into potentially establishing a way to offer the services of our mediators in order to utilise their years of litigation experience.