Mediation - less macho but often effectiveBrennans solicitors
Since time immemorial, apart from maybe at duels, lawyers have been assisting clients in what we used to call “having a bit of a dust up” but now optimistically describe as “Dispute Resolution”.
George Orwell once said, “The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.” Sometimes in litigation matters, such as debt collection or injunctions, you can overwhelm your opponent’s trenches at an early stage. However, often litigation it is not over by Christmas.
In the way that War Ministries are now called Defence Ministries, sometime in the last few years Litigation Departments became Dispute Resolution Teams.
The “team’s” mission is to find a resolution to your dispute rather than just opening hostilities and seeing how it goes which seemed, amongst clients, to be the preferred method for centuries, or certainly as far back as I can remember.
Apart from mediation and tribunals, which I shall deal with later, there are two other main alternatives to a court case:
1. Arbitration – This process replaces courts and judges and their resulting delays and red tape. Nonetheless, arbitrators produce their own delays and red tape and arbitrations can be presided over by people who are not judges but have always wanted to be. The popularity of arbitration in general disputes seems to have waned a little.
2. Expert determination - Contracts often provide for issues to be determined by an expert whose decision shall be final. An independent person is appointed to choose the expert if the parties cannot agree. This can be a lottery as experts cannot be trusted to decide in your favour especially if you do not have a strong case.
What about beating them to death? Always popular. For some, the risk of life imprisonment is adequately compensated by the promise of legal costs being covered by legal aid.
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