Stephen has considerable experience in representing clients in mediation in commercial disputes, insolvency, professional negligence, property and landlord and tenant matters.
Stephen believes that the key to attaining the best result achievable in a mediation is thorough preparation beforehand. In order that the process does not descend into unstructured horse-trading, it is necessary to have a solid understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s case, so as to aim for a result which is as favourable as realistically possible. This will not be the mediator’s aim, nor of course the opposite party’s. It is usually critical to this process that the position statement should point out the strengths in the client’s case, and the weaknesses in the opposing party’s case, whilst at the same time pointing to the parameters of possible settlement and indicating a willingness to negotiate in good faith.
There is of course a need for “soft skills” and a realistic approach to the negotiations at the mediation, but this must always be underpinned by a hard-headed forensic and legal understanding of the strengths (and weaknesses) of the client’s case so as to bring the maximum productive pressure to bear upon the other side in order to achieve the best possible result.
In this way, Stephen has achieved very favourable outcomes for his clients. At the same time, Stephen has rarely represented a client at a mediation which has not resulted in a settlement either at or soon after the mediation. In Stephen’s experience, late night drafting to reflect the settlement is an almost invariable feature of the mediation process!
Stephen has also acted in arbitrations and is equally at home in this field.