Mediation is not a compromise

It is a common misconception that mediation automatically means you have to compromise or ‘give up’ something.

It is of course an important element of a successful mediation that the parties are prepared to engage in some ‘give and take’, but this does not necessarily mean you have to abandon what you consider you are entitled to.

I recently settled a bitter and long running dispute over a family business which demonstrates this.

Each party’s lawyers had tried to work with each other for 9 years to unravel what shares family members would get after a brother died.  Sadly, the animosity between the remaining family members  and range of issues was so high that they were unable to resolve the issues and High Court Proceedings were issued.

Sensibly, the lawyers arranged mediation and I was able to meet with all the parties individually and create a checklist of each party’s complaints and priorities.

Over the course of a day we were able to gradually agree each point of dispute and eventually an agreement was reached that essentially saw everyone get what they wanted.

It was clear that for the 9 years of dispute there was such ill feeling and strong emotion that they had struggled to see the wood for the trees.  At mediation I enabled them to concentrate on solutions rather than problems and the assets and shares were distributed in a way that all were happy with.  This saved High Court proceedings that could have seen costs exceed 6 figures.

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