Why Mediation can save money and stress

I recently mediated a very interesting dispute over the provision of services to a consumer.

The consumer was not satisfied with the service provided for the restoration of a vehicle, which was, allegedly, returned in worse condition then it was in originally.

At a very early stage the consumer suggested mediation but this was rejected and court proceedings had to be issued and defended.  The court eventually stayed matters to allow the parties to mediate.  Mediation took place some 6 months after it was first suggested.

At the mediation it was clear very early on that both parties wanted to resolve this matter if at all possible.  It was clear that if this progressed to court, legal fees would be greater than the amount in dispute.  Discussions quickly focused in on an amount of compensation that would be paid to the consumer.

The service provider and the consumer were able to agree a figure that was satisfactory to both parties and the mediation was therefore successful.  However, by this stage the service provider had incurred legal fees of near or more than the amount paid in compensation, as well as the stress and inconvenience of being involved in County Court Proceedings.

I couldn’t help but think that if they had agreed with the suggestion to mediate when it was first raised then they would have saved themselves significant amounts of money in legal fees.

Often, the amount of legal fees spent before parties come to mediate can impede their negotiating positions, and for this reason I would recommend that mediation is considered at the earliest opportunity.