5RB offers a mediation service for the fast, effective and inexpensive resolution of media-related and other disputes. With the increasing drive from the government and the courts for parties to attempt alternative forms of dispute resolution (ADR), mediation now has to be seriously considered in virtually all disputes where proceedings are active or contemplated.

Mediation can be very successful, with over two-thirds of cases settling on the day and many others shortly afterwards.

Currently, two members of 5RB – William Bennett KC,  Godwin Busuttil – are accredited mediators and have active mediation practices.

They are able to act as mediators and to advise and represent parties who are contemplating or taking part in mediation.

About mediation

Mediation is a process whereby an independent, neutral person assists the parties in dispute to reach a settlement. During the mediation, which will not normally exceed one day, there are sessions with all parties present as well as private sessions between the mediator and just one party. The whole process is confidential; in particular, during the private sessions everything that is said to the mediator is strictly confidential and will not be communicated to the other party unless the party himself passes on the information or expressly authorises the mediator to do so.

The mediator endeavours to guide the parties to a settlement by, amongst other things, questioning them about their positions and their needs and discussing with them the various strengths and weaknesses of their cases. Because the discussions are totally confidential the parties can talk frankly, and safely indicate their hopes and fears to the mediator, who thereby gains a unique overview of the dispute that helps him to assist them to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Until a binding agreement is reached each side is free to walk away.  If no agreement is reached, nothing said or produced in the mediation can be used in court proceedings or for any other purpose, subject to the normal rules of disclosure.

However, in most cases a settlement is reached. About 70% of mediations are successful on the day and, of those that are not, many are settled shortly afterwards.  One of the principal reasons for mediating is its high success rate, but there are many others. Large savings in cost, time and stress can be achieved; mediations can be arranged very quickly so that a dispute can be resolved in a matter of weeks; the costs of a mediation are relatively small; the process is not confrontational in the same way that direct negotiations and court hearings inevitably are. Because of the flexibility of the process, mediation allows and encourages parties to consider, discuss and agree a large number of possible solutions which are not available through the courts. Also as the solution is one which the parties reach themselves, with the help of the mediator, and is not imposed on them by the court, it is far more likely to satisfy both parties. In other words there is no loser – both parties win.

It is not surprising that in recent years the government and the courts have strongly encouraged parties to mediate rather than litigate and the courts have imposed costs sanctions on those who have unreasonably refused to do so.

Please contact the Clerks for details of availability and anticipated fees.