Mediation is a cost-effective and constructive alternative to litigation. The parties appoint, by agreement, a qualified mediator at any point before or during legal proceedings. If successful, the parties may not have to attend court, saving cost and preventing delay.

Mediation keeps the parties in control, and a mediated agreement can be a cheaper and less painful way of resolving a dispute - although fully effective and enforceable when converted into a consent order.

The mediator is an impartial qualified expert or facilitator, able to make suggestions as to the way forward and help all parties think flexibly about options for resolution. Parties usually come to mediation at the suggestion of their lawyers but businesses and members of the public may come directly to the mediator if both sides agree.

College Chambers mediation group is able to provide a full range of mediation services. Our mediators are experienced in commercial, civil, property, employment, inheritance, family and personal injury disputes and are available to assist in relation to any issue where mediation may be appropriate. We are also able to deal with privately-funded family financial claims, following separation or divorce.

We have a clearly-defined fee structure according to expected duration of the mediation (half day, one day, or longer than a day); and the mediator's fee includes reading time. The mediator will conact both parties before the day of the mediation so that arrangements for documents and attendances can be agreed. We have comfortable facilities and our support staff will organise refreshments and lunch.

Our experienced clerks are familiar with the process of mediation and you will find them helpful in settling details about practical arrangements. We believe that mediation is a creative route for resolving disputes where the "winner takes all" outcome of litigation may result in disaster for one or both parties.

How does mediation work?

Mediation is an informal process but rules and guidance do apply. The process is strictly confidential and nothing said in mediation may be used or relied upon later in court (save in some exceptional cases involving for example allegations of fraud). The parties are therefore freed from the pressures of litigation and can concentrate on the real issues, without concern about ceding tactical advantage.

The role of the mediator is to guide the parties towards a settlement, but this does not necessarily mean "splitting the difference" or triangulation. It does not mean rapping anyone over the knuckles or coercing them into an unwanted settlement. The mediator may however ask searching or even difficult questions, which are designed to help the parties to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases; and, more importantly, to focus on achieving an outcome with which all parties can live with.

This process may take considerable time, because the second important rule of mediation is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That agreement may be (and often is), an outcome which could not be applied by a judge. For example parties in a contract dispute may agree the terms of an entirely new contract.

In a mediated settlement everyone can end up with a winning outcome. In litigation both sides can lose out, and may well spend more in costs whatever the result. Parties to mediation often express high levels of satisfaction at the conclusion of the process, perhaps the most telling recommendation.

Can I be represented at mediation?

College Chambers offers the complete package when it comes to mediation. We are able to provide a mediator and specialist barristers to represent you during the process. Each member is entirely independent and available to be instructed to represent you at mediation, bringing with them advocacy skills and the legal knowledge to help to achieve a successful result. For further details please call our experienced clerks on 023 8023 0338.