According to experts, the dismal picture of the forthcoming financial year, as depicted by the Chancellor in this year’s Budget, is likely to lead to a large increase in litigation and, subsequently, to mediation too. When financial pressure is on, businesses need to recoup losses as quickly as possible and this is likely to mean an increase in the number of disputes. However, given the expense and time involved, going to court is not always the best way either to resolve a dispute or to continue a business relationship. An alternative resolution for disputes is mediation. A representative for Hammonds lawyers in Birmingham, Erica Simpson, from the firm’s dispute resolution team, said:

“This is a highly effective method of resolving disputes. It is a structured negotiation which is assisted by an independent third party and normally takes place over the course of a day. Clients are more comfortable with it than with more formal dispute resolution procedures as they have control over the process and are familiar with negotiation.”

And mediation can help salvage business relationships which would flounder if the dispute proceeded to trial. Ms Beaton said: “As it is a relatively quick process and does not need as much preparation as would be needed if a more formal method of dispute resolution were undertaken, it is cost effective which is in the interests of every client.”

Courts are increasingly encouraging cases to try mediation before continuing to court – and look favourably on those who have at least tried the mediation route with the full intention of trying to resolve a matter in a more amicable manner without proceeding to court. Mediation is becoming increasingly popular and it is easy to see why.