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In all forms of civil litigation there is a confrontational approach. Mediation is one form of alternative dispute resolution that does not involve litigation. It is entirely voluntary. The success rate is more than 90%.

For a number of years I have received instructions from solicitors to act as a medical expert witness in cases of alleged medical negligence and for claims made by people injured after accidents. I have become increasingly concerned that the focus has shifted from the injured person. The aggressively confrontational approach between the legal teams for the claimant and for the defendant all too often lead the claimant along a stressful and lengthy litigation process, the outcome of which is unpredictable. In cases of alleged medical negligence, one third of the claimants receive no compensation.

Some five years ago I decided to take a mediation course. For me, this was a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience’. Having qualified as a mediator I have been able to apply the skills that I learned in a wide variety of scenarios.

Mediation is one form of alternative dispute resolution that does not involve litigation. It is entirely voluntary.  Although mediation is not  legally binding, it can be if the participants so wish.

Disputes between participants can be settled in very many different situations, financial, contractual, landlord/tenant, family, probate, workplace, neighbour and employment disputes, divorce settlements, disputes between residents and their families in care homes and nursing homes, as well as medical negligence and accident claims.

The participants need to agree to go to mediation and to choose a mediator. Mediators are trained to explore avenues for settlement. They are completely impartial. The success rate is more than 90%.

If there are any disadvantages it is that there is no ‘winner’.  By the same token there is no ‘loser’. Neither party will come away with everything that they had wanted but they will have participated in and have ownership of the outcome, rather than have a decision imposed on them.

Other great advantages are that the costs will be known in advance and are limited to the mediator’s fee and the hire of a venue for the meeting. Each participant may be accompanied by whoever they like, a family member, a friend, a lawyer or all three. Mediation meetings commonly last half a day or a full day.

If no agreement is reached participants can pursue litigation. Nothing that has been said at the time of a mediation meeting can be used during the litigation process.

If you would like to know more about how mediation could help you, please do get in touch.

After a recent joint family mediation, Mum texted to say her daughter had decided that she doesn't need another meeting as things are a lot better just now.

Thank you for all you do for us.

Resolve Mediation

I would unhesitatingly recommend Mr Whitfield to conduct mediations. He has a very approachable manner and has a real interest in ADR generally and mediation specifically as a mechanism to divert and resolve disputes away from the court system.

Dr Anton van Dellen, Barrister

His participation in the discussion with the plaintiff’s expert showed the ability to debate opposing views on complex clinical issues in a most effective manner. Mr Whitfield has demonstrated skills that in my opinion would be most valuable in mediation.

Solicitor Consultant in the Directorate of Legal Services, Belfast