We have all done it. It has been a quiet news day and the local paper has resorted to reporting on recent court cases which we have read with zeal! In particular a report about a local businessman/woman who has been in dispute with a contractor/customer gives the impression that one or other side has behaved in a very high-handed manner. All the details are there for the looking and there is nothing like a good gory story to get us all excited!
The reality might well have been a bit different – there are always at least two sides to every story, but for at least as long as it takes before the paper ends up in the bin, the business community will probably be buzzing. I don’t believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity! Reputations may well be bruised if not damaged and it is likely to be uncomfortable for lots of people concerned.
Could things have been handled differently? If the matter had gone to mediation and settled then no details would have come out at all. No headlines in the paper. Complete confidentiality (as well as a settlement that is as a result of the consent of all parties concerned). Not to mention a possibly considerable saving in court costs and fees and time!
Think about it.
I am sure you can recall reports of court appearances from the media but can you recall any mention of a mediation? The answer is certainly “No”. Indeed participants in a mediation are precluded from even mentioning going through the process – it really is that confidential. (It does make advertising your services as a Mediator a bit of a challenge!) However, this aspect of Mediation is not always highlighted and is another reason to consider the process.
Mediation is now mainstream but you may never have come across it. Discrete hardly does it credit! If you have something that needs unscrambling then mediation could be a good way to unblock things. No flashing lights, no sirens blazing but just a proven way to sort things out and move on.
ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, Certified Accountant and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (former Chair of the East Anglia Branch), university lecturer and trainer and a member of the CIOT Dispute Resolution and Litigation working group.