“Of course there are many cases where a strict determination of rights and liabilities is what the parties require. The courts stand ready to deliver such a service to litigants and must do so as expeditiously and economically as possible. But before embarking upon full-blooded adversarial litigation, parties should first explore the possibility of settlement.”
- Lord Justice Jackson in Faidi v Elliot Corporation  EWCA Civ 287
Doughty Street Chambers houses several barristers who are also experienced mediators, who offer an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court.
We offer a full range of alternative dispute resolution services including:
• Mediation Services
• Independent Investigation
• Neutral Chairing
• Change Management /Conflict Resolution
Our skilled mediators act as an independent party whose primary role is to help all of the parties involved in a dispute to come to agreements which resolve that dispute.
Mediation works. It is a ﬂexible process that can be tailored to navigate the complexities of a dispute involving multiple participants with widely diverging interests and to safeguard constructive future relationships between those involved. Importantly, mediation gives participants access to a wide range of outcomes not available in litigation. Practical resolution by mediation can provide tangible results which are not restricted by the private or public law principles of ‘remedy’.
Usually, all a court will do is order one party to pay money to the other and/or determine legal rights and duties. In mediation, because the parties come to their own agreement, other things can be taken into account to address the parties' unique needs.
Confidentiality and building trust are cornerstones of mediation practice. Our highly skilled mediators encourage the resolution of disputes by allowing those in conflict to candidly discuss the issues they face, secure in the knowledge that what they say in the mediation is confidential and 'without prejudice' (nothing said in the mediation is admissible as evidence in legal proceedings).
Doughty Street mediators have built on our strengths including an unrivalled capacity to develop and promote effective communications and build consensus between parties. We also bring experience, commitment and above all creativity and innovation in our approach and thinking to facilitate parties reaching a solution to their problem and arriving at an outcome that all parties are happy to accept.
Cases we mediate
Our mediators believe that virtually all disputes have the potential to be resolved through mediation – and most are, either on the day of the mediation or soon afterwards. Practical resolution by mediation can provide tangible results which are not restricted by private or public law principles of remedy.
Examples of some of the sectors and cases we mediate include:
- Public sector – entitlement to housing, community care, mental health aftercare
- Court of Protection – families and statutory bodies about best interests of adults lacking capacity
- Police – malicious prosecution and false imprisonment, internal employment issues
- Workplace and employment – unfair and constructive dismissal, discrimination issues, workplace conflict
- Professional Negligence - claims for damages against health trusts and other organisations, solicitors, accountants
- Media – claims for breach of copyright, defamation, misuse of private information, breach of confidence
- Commercial – contractual, partnership, fraud, intellectual property
- International - longstanding conflicts between state and community groups
- Property/real estate – landlord tenant, neighbour disputes, party wall, trust of land
- Probate disputes – validity, knowledge, fraud, undue influence, executor duties, inheritance
“Skilled mediators are now able to achieve results satisfactory to both parties in many cases which are quite beyond the powers of lawyers and courts to achieve.” (Lord Justice Brooke in Dunnett v Railtrack  1 WLR 2434)
Independent investigation involves engaging an impartial third party to facilitate negotiations, discussions, consensus-building, problem-solving or relationship-building, or to manage existing or potential difficulties in a wide variety of situations. This might typically involve employees or other key stakeholders, where an independent investigation would aim to achieve a rapid and resource effective closure of the matter or, at least, a comprehensive resource for management to determine how best to take the matter forward.
We will agree the scope of the work directly with you and ensure that all necessary information is available to facilitate an appropriate investigation. At the end of the investigation, a full report of findings will be provided orally or in writing (as agreed in advance) together with a recommended ‘road map’ for ongoing management and likely resolution. This is typically offered with detailed verbal feedback.
We will work with parties to adopt an independent investigation process designed to fit their specific needs. Our ethos brings a commitment to open-ended dialogue, where the intervention allows voices to be heard and issues to be raised, and enables the next steps to be taken or devises a framework for future action.
Impartiality and neutrality in internal dispute resolution mechanisms has many benefits:
• Builds and fosters confidence in the process
• Encourages participants to engage with openness and transparency
• Guarantees impartiality and independence in decision making
• Secures confidence in the outcomes which is a crucial factor for ongoing relationships
As mediators, we are well placed to draw on our specialist expertise as barristers to assist participants update existing internal processes and to promote and adopt best practice.
Change Management – Conflict Resolution
Mediation is a powerful tool to enable participants to manage change – big or small - effectively and constructively. This could involve mediating the implications of change for a large international multinational and its workforce or a small tenants' association and a private landlord.
All our mediators are experienced practitioners in conflict management and have the skills, training and understanding to get to the core of the issue.
The focus, as with all mediated solutions, is to secure a resolution that all parties can accept, so that participants are confident that each has a stake in the process and a commitment to it and the outcome.