Specialist solicitors to the construction and engineering industries
Construction projects often take years to complete. Being able to resolve conflicts efficiently is important to help maintain relationships especially when a project is midstream, and the parties still need to work together.
Our construction solicitors have years of experience working with the construction and engineering industries and understand how powerful mediation is in resolving disputes.
Why Use Mediation in Construction Disputes:
Mediation is a highly flexible and confidential form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which takes place outside of court. In essence, it is a process of negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party (the Mediator).
Anything discussed or exchanged between the parties as part of the Mediation process is subject to “without prejudice” privilege, and as such cannot be disclosed to a court or tribunal. The mediator does not produce any form of “decision” and nothing that is said or done is binding upon the parties, unless and until they resolve their differences and reflect that in a settlement agreement.
The purpose of Mediation is that sufficient trust and confidence is re-built between the parties to allow them to arrive at an agreed compromise of their dispute.
Mediation is faster and less expensive than Litigation or Arbitration. Mediation can be used while Litigation or Arbitration is ongoing or while the project is still being constructed.
Mediation sessions usually take no more than a day or two, compared to a court trial or arbitration hearing that can take weeks. Mediations can be scheduled as soon as the parties are ready, while Arbitration hearings and court trials often take years to be scheduled. This time advantage is particularly important when the Mediation takes place while a project is still under construction because resolution of disputes clears the way for more cooperation between the project participants.
Advantages of Mediation in Construction Disputes:
- The principal advantage of mediation is that if successful, it avoids the high costs and lengthy process otherwise associated with bringing, or defending, court proceedings.
- Another core benefit is that mediation can be introduced at any time, making it useful for avoiding escalating conflicts. Thus, mediation also helps to preserve working relationships, as well as facilitating amicable terminations.
- Parties retain a significant level of autonomy and have a much higher degree of control over the proceedings and the settlement than would otherwise be achieved in court proceedings.
- The presence of a neutral third party allows each party’s understanding of their case to be tested, providing the opportunity for parties to re-evaluate their approach and, where appropriate, to consider various alternatives.
- Mediation proceedings are generally conducted “without prejudice”, which means that the documents produced for mediation cannot be disclosed in later proceedings and a party cannot rely on what was said by the other party, or mediator, if the case does not settle.
- Parties can request various actions, including restructuring of existing contracts, structured payment terms and even apologies. Mediation is often successful as it considers the personal and commercial interests of both parties.
To find out more about the advantages of using Mediation or to start proceedings,