19 December 2023

The benefits of mediation: an agricultural perspective

Mediation is an effective way to resolve a wide range of agricultural disputes be those commercial or property.

Agricultural disputes are often extremely complex, involving multiple parties, who may have asymmetrical resources and unknown agendas. Whilst civil proceedings can provide parties with a definitive answer or remedy, mediation allows parties to agree on innovative and practical solutions that the court simply does not have the power to order.

Formal mediation is privileged, meaning that the court cannot be told what was discussed, this allows parties a forum where settlement can be explored without the risk of damaging their positions at trial. A successful mediation can be more favourable and beneficial for all involved, proving particularly useful where the dispute is between family members or neighbours.  

There can be considerable cost and time savings by mediating. The cost of litigation can be significant and in a lot of disputes, the cost of taking proceedings to trial will be disproportionate to the value of the claim or remedy.

What happens during mediation?

During mediation, the mediator, a neutral, independent party, will help the parties attempt to resolve their dispute, by way of a mutual agreement. This will only be achieved when both parties are open to compromise and agree to effectively and clearly communicate their perspective(s) and preference to the mediator. 

Anything either party says to the mediator remains confidential, unless a party gives the mediator the authority to disclose it by way of information or an offer. The parties will be presented with the opportunity to either have an open discussion with each other in a safe and controlled environment and, or to remain separated throughout the mediation process.

Mediators are often qualified barristers or solicitors, but they do not provide legal advice to the parties, it is essential that the parties at a mediation have their own independent legal advice. In a successful mediation, it is the legal advisers who will draw up a legally binding agreement to bring the dispute to an end.

If you would like further information about mediating your agricultural dispute, get in touch.

Tom Hickingbottom, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Tom to discuss this further.

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