Need to get paid but don't want to rock the boat?

Douglas Beckwith
February 28, 2023

Straight to the Point

  • The success rate of mediation at resolving claims is good – typically more than 70% settling in a day – and it preserves business relationships.
  • Mediation allows you to control the outcome of negotiations rather than have decisions imposed upon you by a Judge or an Adjudicator.
  • Mediation allows you to control the cost of settling your claim and frequently results in faster payment.

Conflict is Inevitable

“We don’t have disputes.”  I hear it all the time.  But of course you do – they simply don’t all end up in court.  Conflict is inevitable because construction and engineering contracts involve time, risk and considerable amounts of money.  Most of all they involve people.  Conflict is prevalent in our industry (though often unnoticed) and you don’t need to have a formal dispute to damage your business relationship.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a developer, consultant, contractor or a specialist we have all had the same problem at some time or other – getting paid!

Cash is King!

Many people take the view during these difficult economic times not to press for their cash.  The preservation of business relationships can be seen as more important so that businesses can rebuild their order books when times improve.  However, as the cuts in public expenditure start to bite, businesses have begun to demand payment be made and are increasingly willing to resort to the enforcement of their contractual rights.  As a result more and more clients and contractors are finding it necessary to respond to referrals to adjudication from their contractors, specialists and consultants.

Mediation is a way of doing business better

Although adjudication is now the construction and engineering industry’s way of resolving disputes and it is quick and cheap when compared to litigation, it still brings with it a certain level of cost, stress and business downtime.  Worse still, it promotes those adversarial attitudes that we have all worked so hard to resist for two decades or more.  To add salt to the wound, the final decision is made by a third party with no particular interest in the parties continuing business relationship.

Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution which is actively supported by the courts and which is often required to be considered prior to litigation.  It is also a means of achieving better business outcomes for parties.

Construction and engineering disputes are among the most complex and time consuming in the civil justice field and their very nature make them particularly suitable for resolution through mediation.  The Rt Hon the Lord Woolf stated in a recent Kings College report[1] on mediation:

“Frequently there is a long-established relationship between the parties which has unfortunately broken down.  It is in both their interest that as soon as possible their relationship should be restored.  In many situations what is needed is a solution which the courts are unsuited to provide.”

[1] Gould, N. Et al, ‘Mediating Construction Disputes: An Evaluation of Existing Practice’. (2010) Kings College, London

Staying in Control


So what is mediation?  It is a party owned process that provides a formal arena in which parties can conclude their own negotiations.  The mediator helps to clarify and prioritise issues, crystallise needs, provide reality checks and assists the parties to find their own resolution to the conflict at hand.  In other words, mediators are people who guide and manage the parties through a process of controlled negotiations.  So could it work for your business?  Do better business now.  As a Client once said our style is one of:

“Informality, yet complete control and the ability for all to participate”

Contact us for further information.  


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