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Meeting the rising demand for mediation

In many regions around the globe, mediation is being used regularly as a viable method for resolving commercial disputes. It is often used at the point when problems first arise, and it can prevent matters ending up in lengthy and costly litigation.

Mediation is not a legal process. It is pragmatic, and works both internally, e.g. within an individual state or legal jurisdiction, as well as across regional and national borders. Using a trained and experienced mediator enables parties to achieve viable settlement options, which are focussed on establishing and maintaining a structured dialogue between parties. This ensures relationships are sustained and helps to achieve a common-sense settlement, usually for significantly less financial and personal costs than litigation or arbitration.

As mediation becomes more widely used, and parties are increasingly familiar with the process, many have come to value a more substantive involvement from their mediators, especially when cases appear to be headed for, or are already in, the legal system. Demand is rising for a form of mediation in which mediators provide expert evaluations of issues and/or parties’ overall positions.

Lawyers/in-house counsel are trained and experienced in analysing law and evidence, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's case. They are skilled in weighing financial and other risks of taking disputes to the courts. As such, this can help them to be effective evaluative mediators.

Lawyers, who are trained in mediation skills, can add value to the services they provide to both employers and suppliers. Mediation can help achieve commercially orientated settlements from emerging disagreements and disputes, whilst maintaining a neutral and detached environment. A thorough understanding of mediation techniques provides lawyers with confidence to be flexible in their approach, as well as being able to retain a focus on wider commercial realities.

The one-day RICS mediation training focuses on evaluative mediation and teaches lawyers how to identify and communicate innovate settlement terms. In certain instances, courts, or avenues of arbitration, are unable to provide this in a way that is persuasive and compelling.

To view more details about the RICS Mediation Training half-day workshop on August 30 at the DIFC Academy of Law, please visit: http://www.rics.org/ae/training-events/training-courses/mediation-training-workshop/mediation-training-workshop/

Dr. John Fletcher, RICS ADR Products Group Director & Head of RICS Global Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)