Whilst it is business as usual at Ashfords, that does not mean we are doing business in the usual way.
Liam Tolen, Associate in our Dispute Resolution Team had to take a dynamic approach to a mediation which had been in the diary for several months. For the uninitiated, a mediation gives parties to a dispute the chance to meet, along with a neutral third party mediator, in order to explore ways to resolve their differences, without going to Court.
The dispute concerned an alleged claim of over £1.5m, so when the Government’s COVID-19 advice made the idea of getting around the table with a large group of people an impossibility, rather than lose the opportunity to try to explore settlement opportunities, the parties agreed to a “virtual mediation”.
The virtual mediation was held remotely with the mediator, the lawyers and parties being in 6 different locations. Using a video conferencing platform, the parties were able to hold private meetings with their lawyers and with the mediator, as well as coming together as a group to discuss their positions.
Liam commented that, “it was a really innovative way to overcome the current difficulties restricting everyone’s activities. The technology provided an effective solution and I would not hesitate to recommend a virtual mediation to any of our clients”.
We are now also seeing the Courts move towards the use of technology with hearings being listed to take place by telephone or video-conferencing over the coming months.