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Costs Mediation

Costs Dispute Mediation

Costs mediation is becoming more and more common. Everybody knows that litigation is an expensive, and often risky, process. But clients and the general public are often unaware that the disputes arising around the legal costs of a court case can take just as long to be resolved before the court as the original case itself.

It is not uncommon for a costs dispute to take more than 6 months to reach a 1 day hearing. For the losing party, the costs consequences can be enormous; and throughout this 6 month period the parties cannot be certain about how much they might owe or might be owed in terms of legal costs.

Little surprise then, that there is a growing shift towards the use of mediation to lessen the risk of going to the courts or Senior Courts Costs Office, and instead saving time and resources for both parties.

Mediating Costs Disputes?

Where negotiations fail, the courts are making it clear that they would prefer parties to attempt mediation before commencing proceedings. Mediation has a settlement rate of over 90% in costs disputes so it seems that there is a clear logic to the courts’ approach here.

Costs law is a distinct, specialised field of law. However, as with other litigation, all costs disputes are based on rules and case law. A skilled costs lawyer will present the strongest possible argument for its client, but will also review the client’s position against the current trends and advise of the level of risk and likely award.

This process can be taken further in a mediation because the parties are able to speak to one another in without prejudice conversations to explore settlement options. Ultimately, the decision to reach a settlement is in the hands of the parties to the dispute. They are not losing control to a Judge who is being tasked with reviewing their arguments and interpreting them against the current positions in law.

Our specialist costs mediators can help the parties to narrow the issues, find common ground, and to explore settlement options that are acceptable to both parties.

As with other forms of mediation, if an agreement is reached at the mediation the parties will draft and sign a legally binding document to reflect the agreed terms. There will be no need to expend more time and money proceeding to a hearing.

We are able to offer Evaluative Mediation, if requested, where the mediator will play a more active role in using their expertise in the field of costs to advise the parties on the potential outcome of the dispute should it proceed to a final hearing.

Our Fees

A typical costs mediation involving two parties will require up to 1 full day mediation session. Occasionally though, a shorter mediation session will be sufficient to resolve a costs dispute. It doesn’t matter to us how complicated your dispute is, we want our costs mediation service to be simple and straightforward and so we have committed to charging a flat fee for each mediation.

Costs Disputes Mediation

If a dispute is particularly deep seated, then the mediation can continue at an hourly rate of £200.00 per party.

The above fees do not include VAT.

For mediations involving a dispute with 3 or more businesses, we will provide a bespoke quote following receipt of more detailed information concerning the matter.

The only other expenses might be the cost of hiring rooms if the mediation could not take place at the office of one of the parties’ solicitors, and potentially the cost of overnight travelling expenses.

Client Billing Disputes

Professional services providers are in a unique position – their clients will rely on the provider’s knowledge and expertise, often when making important decisions. You do your very best for the client, drawing upon all of your knowledge and expertise, and dedicating a good amount of time to their case, and then you submit your bill.

Disputes surrounding professional services costs can be extremely contentions and time consuming. It is perhaps easier for clients to accept a large bill for something tangible (a new car or a home extension, for example) than it is for knowledge and time.

Using mediation resolve a dispute with a client has many benefits for the professional service provider. It can:-

  • save time
  • save money
  • free up the advisor’s time to focus on more productive work
  • potentially salvage the relationship with the client
  • protect the reputation of the advisor by resolving the dispute via mediation which is confidential

Inviting the client to a mediation gives the client the opportunity to be heard, and also portrays a message that you care about their perceived grievance. It is more likely that a client will respond positively to this process than simply being pointed towards an internal complaints procedure or a regulatory governing body.

Our Fees

A typical mediation where a client disputes a bill will require 1 full day mediation session. Sometimes a shorter mediation session will be sufficient to resolve a client dispute. It doesn’t matter to us how complicated your dispute is, we want our mediation service to be simple and straightforward and so we will charge a flat fee for each mediation.

Costs Disputes Mediation

If a dispute is particularly deep seated, then the mediation can continue at an hourly rate of £200.00 per party.

The above fees do not include VAT.

For mediations involving a dispute with 3 or more parties, we will provide a bespoke quote following receipt of more detailed information concerning the matter.

The only other expenses would be the cost of hiring rooms if the mediation could not take place at the office of one of the parties’ solicitors, or the overnight travelling costs of our mediator.

Mediation Retainer Package For Costs Disputes Or Client Billing Disputes

A recent addition to our products – we will offer a reduced cost package to acknowledge your commitment to mediation. Under our annual mediation retainer package, you commit to a monthly fee and we will provide an agreed number of mediations per year.

The retainer package is particularly useful to costs solicitor firms who regularly use mediation to resolve costs disputes. The monetary and time savings could be substantial. Please contact us for further details.

 

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Did you know?

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A 2008 CIPD survey found that 51% of respondents use an external mediator to resolve people problems and conflict.

13th September 2016

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