Four out of five commercial disputes are capable of being resolved through fixed-priced mediation, according to a firm unveiling a two-tier service today.
Manchester firm Pannone says it has responded to the Jackson reforms and the possibility of compulsory mediation with a service that settles disputes without going to court.
The mediation service has two fee levels: £10,000 for complex claims and £5,000 for more straightforward disputes.
Paul Jonson, head of dispute resolution for Pannone, estimated just one in five cases will be too complex to deal with through mediation.
Jonson (pictured) said mediation was the best solution for the remainder, when the successful party can no longer recover after-the-event insurance and success fees.
‘Mediating disputes is cheaper, quicker, less confrontational than the court process and also has the potential to save a faltering business relationship from breaking down irretrievably,’ said Jonson.
‘Clients who are in dispute want quick and cost-effective solutions and with the prospect of compulsory mediation on the horizon, we believe fixed-price mediation will be firmly at the forefront of settling disputes.’
Increased use of mediation was a key driver of the government’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which came into force last month. Judges also appear to be keen to promote settling disputes out of court.
In February, Speaking at a reception in London organised by mediation group the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), Mr Justice Gavin Lightman - a judge in the Chancery division of the High Court - called for mediation to be given a more central role in the legal system.
In March, now-retired judge Sir Alan Ward Ward suggested it might be time to review the rule in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust  that imposing mediation would constitute an ‘unacceptable obstruction’ on the right to access to the court.