Legal expert's seal of approval to resolve disputes

A legal expert with a leading Essex law firm Birkett Long, has recently qualified as a mediator to help parties resolve their disputes

Peter Allen, partner and head of the firm’s commercial department has years of experience in dealing with commercial and civil disputes acting for both businesses and individuals.

He has represented clients in mediations for 18 years but has now passed a stringent course to become an accredited mediator in civil and commercial mediation with the national body the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group.

Peter can mediate disputes ranging from warring neighbours to disagreements over ownership of land for individuals. Business disputes he can mediate on include debt, contract, negligence, partnership, shareholders, agency, fraud, construction and intellectual property.

He said: “A mediator is an independent third party who helps facilitate a negotiated settlement confidentially. My role is not to make a decision on the case, nor give an opinion on the merits of the case, but to assist the parties in resolving their dispute themselves. Hopefully all parties to the mediation can come out as winners.”

Judges increasingly encourage parties to refer their dispute to mediation and those who refuse to do so can be penalised in costs even if they win their case.

As a result, more mediations are taking place: “Although the process can cost a reasonable amount of money it is usually a fraction of the cost of going to trial and the truth is the vast majority of cases settle, then they are able to put it behind them and get on with their lives,” added Peter.

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