The parties were interested in attempting to resolve their dispute without spending more money on litigation.

Written by John Appleby, Solicitor & Mediator at Leonard Gray.

In this case, the two parties were involved in a complex and entrenched dispute regarding a family inheritance, with neither being able to agree how their late parents’ assets should be divided.

In many ways, the litigation process had only served to deepen the conflict further. It was clear that the parties had taken personally and felt a degree of anguish about certain aspects of the other’s case.

Mediation presented the ideal opportunity for the parties to speak openly (but in strict confidence) with me about their wider interests and the real reasons why there was such animosity between them. From our one-to-one sessions, it emerged that they had very different views about the dynamics of the family and their experiences growing up. Talking about these issues led to more constructive discussions with me about how the dispute might be resolved.

The parties did not want to be in the same room at any stage during the mediation. They felt that this could lead to tension and obstruct a settlement being achieved.

Settlement figures were, ultimately, agreed by the parties in a manner with which they were both comfortable.

The mediation process enables individuals to flesh out the interests and issues they really wish to discuss and resolve, in a way which litigation simply cannot accommodate. At court hearings, on the other hand, the atmosphere is often more adversarial.

If both parties are genuinely interested in exploring the possibility of achieving a settlement, without incurring substantial legal costs, I would strongly recommend them to mediate at the earliest possible stage, particularly in a case such as this where there are such big, emotional complexities at play.