In many cases – and the rules envisage this and the judges encourage this – you will be urged to settle a case by mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Considerable pressure is invariably applied to litigants to reach an (amicable) settlement. Failure to try it out can result in the payment of costs. The courts want this because it saves them time and having to reach a decision. You may also think it a good idea because reaching a compromise means that no one wins and no one loses!!
The first thing to note is that what I have described above is not arbitration, which differs in several important respects. Arbitration is binding in law and, although very often quicker and less formal than litigation through the courts, it is far more formal than mediation and/or ADR. The latter is informal; “without prejudice” material may be used; the rules of evidence do not apply; and it is not binding unless an agreement is actually reached.
Although mediation/ADR is informal in theory it is of the utmost importance that a strong case is presented in the same way that a good lawyer will put forward one’s case in court. This is because the mediator is really in the same position as the judge; if you persuade the judge you will win. Likewise, if you convince the mediator, he/she will try to push the other side into a favourable settlement. So do not be fooled into thinking that you might as well do it yourself. It is a skilled job. Be represented at the mediation by an expert layman or lawyer.
Laurence Kingsley has conducted many mediations and alternative dispute resolutions and may well be able to help you and enable you to obtain successful outcome.