Barristers and Mediations. What do you think?

This old chestnut came back to haunt me recently in a complex multi-party mediation of an inheritance dispute.

We mediators know all too well that inheritance disputes are some of the most difficult cases to mediate. They are intensely personal. Joint sessions are almost always impossible. When the disputants are in the grip of powerful, sometimes uncontrollable emotions it is incumbent on their lawyers to support them and nurse them through the day. It is equally incumbent on the lawyers to allow the mediator to do his or her job.

Continue reading “Barristers and Mediations. What do you think?”

Litigation, Mediation, Wisdom and Skill

I’ve been mediating for 10 years (4 of those full-time) and it’s been my privilege to have mediated well over 400 civil disputes of all shapes and sizes. I love the job; it’s a far cry from sitting at my desk or appearing in court fighting my clients’ corner – something I’ve done for over 25 years. Or indeed attending mediations with my clients. That said, you will never hear me decry the litigation process or the people who operate within it. I have the greatest of respect for the legions of really excellent lawyers who are dedicated to their work and their clients, often for far less remuneration than is popularly imagined. What does bother is the constant assault on access to justice pursued by successive governments: the slashing of legal aid, the crazy hike in court fees, the imposition of employment tribunal fees (now abolished following a Supreme Court ruling last year). Unfettered access to justice for all – regardless of means – should be an essential element of civilised society.

Continue reading “Litigation, Mediation, Wisdom and Skill”

Framing Costs-Inclusive Offers – Are you up to date?

For years it has been accepted wisdom for litigation lawyers to advise their clients that they will not recover all their costs if they win at trial. Clients are told that the irrecoverable costs – those that are disallowed by the costs judge upon detailed assessment – are typically pitched in a range between 25% to 33% of the actual costs paid by the client. To put it the other way round, the maximum costs that the losing party will be ordered to pay to the winning party will be somewhere between three quarters and two thirds of the winning party’s actual costs.

Continue reading “Framing Costs-Inclusive Offers – Are you up to date?”