Ignore an invitation to mediate at your peril

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By Katie Hickman

The Court of Appeal recently penalised a party in costs for ignoring an invitation to mediate. The claimant had a £1.9m dilapidations claim against the defendant.

On 11 April 2011, the parties exchanged Part 36 offers. The claimant offered to accept £1.25m and the defendant offered to pay £700,000. On the same day, the claimant’s solicitor offered mediation to the defendant and sought an explanation for any refusal. The letter, and a subsequent chasing letter sent in July 2011, went unanswered.

In December 2011, the claimant decreased its Part 36 offer to £1.05m. In its skeleton argument, received the day before the trial in January 2012, the defendant raised a point that effectively reduced the claimant’s claim by about £250,000. The claimant accepted the defendant’s Part 36 offer of £700,000…

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