Resolving Disputes

By John Devlin, Partner

Most people are familiar with the term litigation which involves two or more parties asking a judge to determine the outcome of their dispute. It is however the case that litigation is not only lengthy and costly but the outcome is often unpredictable. Litigants hand control of their dispute to the court which dictates the pace of the litigation, the evidence that each side is permitted to rely upon and the amount of legal costs that the successful litigant can recover from the other party which, invariably, is substantially less than the actual legal costs incurred.

But there are less costly alternatives which allow the litigating parties to retain control of their own destinies. One alternative is mediation which, contrary to popular myth, is not a form of counselling but rather a process designed to strip the dispute back to its essentials and to encourage the parties to concentrate on the advantages of reaching a compromise. The process is facilitated by a trained mediator but unlike a judge the mediator does not decide who is right and who is wrong, but instead encourages the parties to resolve the dispute themselves. The advantages of mediation are many not the least being that fact that there is no element of compulsion and the outcome is in the hands of the parties alone.

Another alternative is neutral dispute evaluation in which the parties put the dispute and their evidence before an experienced third party lawyer, often a retired judge, who then lets the parties know what his/her decision would be if he/she were trying the case.

At Horsey Lightly we encourage our clients to explore these and other forms of alternative dispute resolution which is why our lawyers work under the banner of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team.

John Devlin Partner

For more information or advice on personal or business disputes please contact John Devlin ( ; or Katie Harris ( or telephone on 01635 580858

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