All is fair in mediation

Marion Simmons QC sets out many reasons why mediation will not work (The Lawyer, 13 March). Many a litigation specialist with particular skills in negotiating has said the same before. We did too – until, some years ago, we tried mediation.

The simple fact is that it works and we have completed scores of mediations to prove it. Our settlement rate is about 98 per cent.

Could they have been settled without mediation? Some could, some not.

There may be obstacles which even the best negotiators cannot overcome. There may, for example, be unequal representation.

There may be factors outside the pleaded case which are missed by the lawyers or are simply unknown to them.

That provisions for the Human Rights Act do not apply to mediations is neither here nor there – it does not apply to any negotiations either.

The parties are entitled to a fair trial but experience suggests that for most what matters more is a fair resolution of their dispute and that is what mediation achieves.

Frank Maher, partner, Weightmans