Mediation

Sadly, sometimes those involved in family business find themselves in conflict or dispute with other family members.  Mediation is a structured process which provides the parties to a conflict with an opportunity to be heard, to focus on their core interests, to understand those of other family members and to reach an acceptable outcome to that conflict.

Mediation works.  It is successful in 86% of cases.  Nationally it is said that over 75 – 80% of mediations settle on the day, with a further 10-15% settling in the days following the mediation.[1]

A mediation process leaves the path open for a future relationship between the parties.  Court proceedings almost always close the door on that.  Mediation also saves significant costs when compared with any stage of court proceedings.

The mediation process

The mediation process is very flexible, usually taking place on a single day and taking the following path:

  • Once we receive an enquiry we make contact with all relevant parties to introduce ourselves and to hear brief details and to explain how mediation works.

  • Before the day of the mediation, each party will be asked to:

  • sign a copy of our mediation agreement; and

  • send us a brief summary of the details of the dispute and what you hope to achieve from the mediation.

  • On the day of the mediation, you will be guided through a simple, three stage process:

    • Opening joint session

    • Private sessions (each party in turn spends time in private session with the mediator)

    • Closing joint session

    • Signing a final agreement.

  • We can mediate in person or online and we can discuss with you which is more suitable in your circumstances.

  • Parties can choose to have lawyers and other advisors present but this is not necessary.

Our mediators

Nick Smith and Emma Rudge are trained mediators accredited by the Civil Mediation Council.   With decades of experience of helping family businesses resolve disputes, Nick and Emma are uniquely placed to assist you with a family business mediation.  You can find out more about Nick and Emma here.

Mediation or consultancy?

Our consultancy process is also applicable where family dynamics are under stress.  That process and mediation have common elements, such as giving all concerned a voice.  Consulting interventions tend to be longer term and are best suited to situations where preserving family relationships are of primary importance such as:

  • if a dispute has been resolved and a governance system needs to be put in place to support the business and to achieve family harmony

  • if family dynamics are poor but there is no definable dispute

  • where disputes arise in the context of wider issues, typically succession

Mediation, on the other hand may be better suited, where:

  • There are clearly defined issues in dispute between family members

  • Court proceedings either:

    • are contemplated

    • have reached a crucial, or expensive stage (e.g. preparing for trial)

    • appear to have resulted in deadlock

  • Time is of the essence (perhaps an offer has been received for land owned by the family and there is a disagreement whether to accept or not).

Please get in touch if you have any questions or if you are keen to explore whether mediation can help your family business.

If you are unsure which service would suit you best, please contact us and we can explore this further with you.

[1] Civil Mediation Council, https://civilmediation.org/facts-about-mediation/

We would love to hear from you so please feel free to get in touch.