Our Mediation Service
At Stonegate Legal we recognise that conflict happens. Conflict, disagreements, and disputes can be emotionally draining, time consuming and often costly, particularly if Court proceedings are on the horizon.
Our mediation service is therefore dedicated to supporting parties to focus their energies on securing a resolution which works for them. Our aim is to bring parties together in a neutral setting in order to facilitate their negotiation of a solution which allows them to positively move forward from the conflict at hand.
Our mediation service is presently headed and delivered by Hannah Rodgers. Hannah is one of our solicitors and she secured accreditation as mediator with Regent’s University School of Psychotherapy and Psychology in December 2018.
In summary, Hannah is privileged to work with some of the most vulnerable individuals in society, their attorneys/deputies and other professional advisers. Regularly instructed to act in matters arising from intractable family disputes, financial abuse, adult abduction and other complex circumstances, Hannah is passionate about facilitating workable solutions which serve her clients’ best interests. Hannah takes a conscientious, pragmatic and proactive approach to understanding and meeting the needs of her vulnerable clients, engaging with the relevant statutory bodies where it is appropriate to do so.
Working with clients, their representatives, families and the statutory bodies in often highly emotive circumstances has naturally resulted in Hannah exploring mediation as a way to help resolve conflict and encourage effective outcomes without unnecessary delay and expense.
Outside of her Stonegate practice, Hannah volunteers with a local charity providing mediation services to support individuals experiencing neighbourhood and housing related disputes.
What is mediation?
Where a problem has arisen, mediation is a process by which the parties collectively appoint an independent and impartial third party to support them in working through a solution to their issue.
The process is voluntary and confidential, meaning the parties can end the process should they wish at any stage and the discussions held (and any agreements reached) within the mediation cannot then be referred to in any subsequent Court proceedings.
How it works?
Mediation is a flexible process which can be tailored to suit the particular dispute in hand and the needs of the parties.
The parties will usually jointly instruct the mediator who will then hold initial separate and confidential telephone discussions with them (and their respective advisors) to determine whether the dispute is suitable for mediation. Provided both parties are willing to proceed with the mediation following the initial telephone discussions, the mediator will provide the parties with their terms of engagement and a date and time will be set for the mediation meeting(s) at a neutral venue. Remote mediation can also be accommodated.
Depending upon the nature of the dispute, a mediation would usually take place on one day. Limiting the time available for the mediation is often beneficial in focusing the parties on resolving their disagreement. Some mediations can however be completed in less than one day and others may require more than the working day.
If remote mediation is not an option for the parties then each party would typically have their own room at the neutral venue. Subject to how the parties wish to approach the mediation, the mediator would then work between the parties, bringing them together for a joint meeting where appropriate.
If an agreement is reached, then a settlement agreement would usually be drafted by the parties’ lawyers and signed by the parties. Only once the agreement is signed does it become legally binding.
Mediation is an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve disagreements in comparison to Court proceedings.
The benefits of mediation relative to the downsides of court proceedings is summarised below:
|Benefits of Mediation||Negatives of Court proceedings|
|Cost effective – costs shared by the parties||Litigation costs are expensive and there is a risk one party may be required to pay the costs of the other|
|Time efficient – dictated by the parties||Litigation can take months or even years to conclude|
|Flexible – tailored to the needs of the parties. Allows the parties to take control over how they wish to resolve their disagreement.||Court proceedings are subject to the Court’s directions and are not necessarily adapted to the needs of the parties. In resolving the dispute, the Court’s judgment will be within the constraints of the Court’s application of the law and discretion|
|Confidential||Court proceedings are generally public|
|Mediator’s impartiality – the mediator is there to facilitate, not to pass judgment||In Court proceedings, a judgment is made and the parties are restricted by the legal process|
|Informal process||Court proceedings are formal and there can be consequences for the parties failing to comply with the strict formalities|
We usually offer fixed fees for our mediation service. Our fees depend upon the value and complexity of the dispute and the costs are shared equally between the parties. The below fees are based upon a two party mediation lasting no more than one working day (i.e. 9am to 5pm) and allow for up to 3 hours preparation. Mileage is charged separately.
|Value of the dispute||Fee per party|
|Up to £100,000||£600 plus VAT|
|£100,001 to £250,000||£800 plus VAT|
|£250,001 to £500,000||£1,000 plus VAT|
|£500,001 to £1,000,000||£1,500 plus VAT|
|Claims with no monetary value||£750 plus VAT|
The above fee scale is intended as guide only and our fees would be subject to agreement with the parties in each case. The above fees do not include any venue costs, costs of refreshments or other ancillary costs associated with the mediation. Where the mediation exceeds the agreed allotted time and / or additional preparation time is required, we charge an hourly rate of £150 plus VAT.