Donald Trump’s lawyer called for trial by combat against political opponents prior to the storming of the United States Capitol. As a solution to disputes this was a popular remedy introduced by the Normans and only formally abolished in Great Britain 200 years ago. The loser would normally end up dead – not really the best result if you want to maintain good relations after ending a dispute.
Then, as now, there were sensible alternatives to the risks of battle. A knight’s squire would throw down the gauntlet triggering negotiations to resolve the dispute before battle. Solicitors now figuratively rattle their sabres at one another but, like the squires of old, most will do their best to settle before battle in court. Lives may not be at stake now, but the risks of litigation can result in enormous costs, loss of property, loss of time and enormous stress.
In thirty-five years as a solicitor, I have learned that people get drawn into protracted and expensive litigation only to settle at the doors of the court. If they could settle their difference in a cramped waiting room at court, then they could have done so months or years earlier if they had brought in a mediator.
Courts now expect all litigants to try mediation before taking their cases before a judge
I am accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as an Evaluative Civil and Commercial Mediator. I deal mainly with property and probate matters but am happy to take on most type of commercial disputes.
My colleagues Liz Hunt and Jonathan Hewitson are the go-to Solicitor Mediators for family and divorce mediation.
The pandemic has of course changed the way we all conduct our lives but the wonders of Zoom etc have in many ways improved the mediation process. The mute button is particularly useful!
I miss meeting people in person, but I don’t miss travelling to mediation venues. A mediation can be a very challenging and intensive day involving consideration of detailed evidence over a short period of time while dealing with litigants who are diametrically opposed to one another. My favourite Zoom venue is now a barn where I am alone with the zoom screens except for my dogs and Matilda the donkey. Nothing on earth inspires a calm temperament more than Arthur the labrador. Matilda is on hoof to demonstrate that however stubborn the people on the Zoom screens might be, she is the expert. If I can talk Matilda round, then the litigants are no problem at all.
Now that so many of us are not allowed to leave home there may be many whose isolation is exacerbated by an unresolved civil or family dispute.
It costs nothing to phone us for a confidential and no obligation chat to find out whether mediation does offer a solution for you.
Of course, in addition to mediation, we provide a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, 01446 792535 or my personal mobile number 07771 803639.
Vale Solicitors Advocates & Mediators
102 High Street, Barry CF62 7DS
Llantwit Major Office
1 Boverton Road, Llantwit Major CF61 1XZ
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