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When to mediate? The art of good timing

4 July 2015


 July 4, 2015

There’s a lot of debate about the timing of mediation: go too early and you may not be clear about all aspects of the dispute so you can’t deal with them effectively (or at all); go too late and costs have escalated to such an extent that the mediation is side-tracked into an argument over who pays the costs rather than settling the dispute itself.

I recently mediated a dispute where a new problem came up: experts whose reports were so widely different that they made it more, rather than less, difficult to find a settlement. This was a case crying out for a pragmatic settlement and for once a quick and dirty horse deal before the experts delivered their reports might have achieved something beneficial to both sides. Instead they became mired in a circle of recrimination created by the very people who should have been there to help them.

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