Alternative Dispute Resolution

Some lawyers are hammers, and see every dispute as a nail.

We prefer to see every dispute as a solution waiting to happen. We have taken active steps to ensure that our team contains experts in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

ADR can take many forms, but its most common forms are:-

Commercial negotiation

This is often overlooked as a form of ADR, but if a negotiation is done well, carried out with good advice given to the participants on both sides, then most disputes can be resolved simply by reaching a deal. Across our team, we have been representing clients in their dispute negotiations for a total of over 100 years – we know what works.

Mediation

This is a form of consensual dispute resolution, where the parties to a dispute are assisted by an independent Mediator to agree a settlement. The process is non-binding until terms are finally agreed and the parties sign-off on a deal document. It is entirely confidential throughout – even the fact that the parties went to Mediation cannot be referred to in any subsequent court action. It can be a very swift and cost-effective process – the vast majority of Mediations see a settlement achieved over the course of a single day (usually with a few weeks of preparation time beforehand), leaving parties to get on with their lives once the deal is done.

Mediation is, however, an intensive and sometimes challenging process, and we find that clients participating in Mediation are usually in need of expert legal and commercial advice, which our experts can provide. Our team members include accredited Mediators, who can not only act as Mediators themselves, but can bring their expertise to bear in helping you identify when a dispute might be suitable for Mediation, and then guiding you through the process.

Our experts are often called upon to act as Mediators. This most often arises in relation to workplace disputes between an employer and their employees, or in family matters. When we act as Mediators, we adhere to a Code of Conduct and observe a strict confidentiality policy. Referrals to our Mediator Service can be made online by e-mailing Liam Entwistle or Tom Quail.

Arbitration

This is a form of dispute resolution where an expert third party is called upon to decide a dispute. The Arbitrator’s powers and duties are limited by the agreement between the parties which leads to his appointment as Arbitrator. The benefit of Arbitration is usually that the Arbitrator is an industry expert, and therefore can bring that expertise to bear on the dispute at hand. In addition, the dispute can be resolved more quickly than in a court action, and often at a lower cost.

Our team includes members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and our Arbitration expertise includes construction and property disputes.  WJM is a member firm of the Scottish Arbitration Centre.

Adjudication

This is a form of dispute resolution which is particular to construction disputes. An expert third party is appointed to decide a dispute, with that Adjudicator’s decision being immediately binding on the parties, but subject to later challenge in court or Arbitration. The purpose of Adjudication is to allow construction disputes to be resolved quickly, as a construction project is still going on, so that cashflow continues and the parties can get on with the project. The rules generally require the dispute to be decided within 28 days, so the process is very quick and requires swift, responsive and expert representation.

We have acted for clients in Adjudications since the statutory procedure was introduced, and to date we have successfully secured a positive outcome for our clients in every Adjudication in which we have been involved.

When picking your legal team for any dispute, it is important to ensure that they are able to offer every tool in the toolbox to see that dispute resolved quickly and effectively, using ADR options where possible. Our team provides that expertise.