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Mediation Case Studies

From the Mediator’s Mouth

The following cases were matters in which the mediators had first hand involvement but the details have been altered to anonymize the parties involved. The cases show the comparative benefits of choosing mediation as against litigation.

By Ed Johnson – Mediator

Employment Contract

On one hand in an employment dispute involving bitter accusations on both sides and stress, strain and all the wasted time that goes into these conflicts mediation was chosen as the way forward.

The history of the case was that one party sub-contracted the other to work for them but neglected to have a detailed written contract. Both sides felt their view of the implied terms of contract were right.

Evidence of business practice and what had actually happened did not necessarily reflect either side’s case.

By engaging in a one-day mediation both parties walked away with a result they could accept at the earliest stage of court proceedings. Time saved, stress ended, money saved on both sides by avoiding further court costs and the lost hours of work that both sides would have faced had they not reached agreement.

Neighbour Dispute

On the other hand in a case involving adverse possession dating back some 13 years neither party opted for mediation.

Ultimately (after four years of the legal process) at the land tribunal one of the parties was said to be wholly successful, but only in terms of having the disputed land declared as theirs.

The curious thing about winning at court is that you are rarely genuinely wholly successful. Even though the winning party in this case was awarded costs against the other the balance of their costs, some ten thousand pounds were not recovered and so fell to the winning party to pay.

The plot of land in question was no larger than an average shed.

So can they genuinely say they were wholly successful? Could an earlier engagement with a mediator have resolved the dispute without such a lengthy court case and the tens of thousands of pounds spent on both sides? There was clearly a willingness on both sides to negotiate but neither party made any serious approach to the other to try and seek a mediated solution.

Perhaps they did not know the option was there, something which the current Manchester County Court Mediation Pilot scheme should help with.

Ed Johnson – Mediator