Appropriate Dispute Resolution

Litigation is becoming increasingly costly and time consuming in a world which is moving forward at a cracking pace. Westgate Chambers now offers a full civil, commercial and family Mediation Service to Solicitors and individuals as an alternative and often more appropriate process for resolving disputes.

Areas of law suitable for Mediation.

Commercial, Contract, General Tort including professional and clinical negligence, Landlord and Tenant including Business Tenancies, Neighbour Disputes and Boundaries, Sale of Goods and Services, Local Government, Judicial Review, Probate and Wills, Cohabiting unmarried couples and Trusts. This list is not exhaustive.

When to Mediate?

Anytime, preferably before the costs of the dispute have become overwhelming.

Where to Mediate?

Westgate Chambers now has a mediation suite in our new premises at 64 High Street, Lewes, the use of which is included in the fee. Alternatively, if the parties prefer, mediations can take place in a Solicitor’s office or in a neutral venue such as a hotel, conference centre or offices. One room for each party is required, together with one further room being large enough to accommodate all parties around one large table.

What’s in it for Solicitors?

The opportunity to provide an appropriate dispute resolution process for your clients speedily and less costly than otherwise might be the case. They will thank you; give you repeat business, and spread the word that your firm delivers.

Increased turnover will compensate for any anticipated losses of litigation derived fees.

And remember, there may be costs implications for clients who refuse to mediate in accordance with the overriding objective.

General Points

Both Counsel and solicitors may appear at mediation, at the discretion of the parties. The mediator is trained to deal with any imbalance in representation, and parties should not feel obliged to match like with like. Parties may appear in person. All our qualified mediators are available to discuss the process in more detail should parties wish to do so.

Mediation is Without Prejudice, private, and in no way affects one’s right to later take the dispute to Court. Nothing said in mediation can be repeated in Court. The Mediator cannot give legal advice to the parties if unrepresented at the mediation, and so unrepresented parties must make arrangements to obtain legal advice by telephone during the mediation.

It is an essential requirement that someone with authority to settle is at the mediation, or at a minimum, is in telephone contact with such a person. The Mediation Agreement stipulates that there must always be such authority.

The Cost

Normally each party will pay an equal proportion of the costs, unless otherwise agreed. All costings are inclusive of VAT. Details of charges are available upon request to the Clerks.

Prior to the mediation taking place, the Mediator will make an assessment of the likely length of the mediation, and will raise an invoice for that period against each party, which must be paid before the mediation takes place. In the event that the mediation exceeds that period, which can only be by agreement of all present, an invoice for the balance will be raised and must be paid within 28 days of receipt.

Setting up a Mediation

If anyone wishes to discuss mediation as a conflict resolution tool or just generally, please contact the Clerks at Westgate Chambers. Gavin Argent is available to discuss the process in more detail should parties wish to do so.

Family Mediation

Westgate Chambers offer Family Mediation as a service. We offer mediation in high value Ancillary Relief cases for private clients, all areas of matrimonial matters and private law matters. It should be noted that the process follows the civil/commercial mediation model, and is appropriate if there are substantive issues with regard to disclosure of assets by either or both parties.