I regularly get asked this question, particularly by clients about to embark on litigation. It’s the million pound question with no right answer. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how litigation will conclude.
However, what I am able to do for my clients is provide a review of their evidence and give practical advice on the prospect of success, as well as areas of potential exposure or weakness.
This is valuable because, by the time a company or individual contacts a dispute resolution lawyer, they have often either already been served with proceedings or are consumed in a heated exchange of correspondence with their opposition. In both those circumstances, it is often difficult for a company or individual to step back and independently assess their own position in a dispute.
Commercial disputes during Covid-19
Interestingly, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic I have seen an increase in the number of commercial disputes that are being amicably resolved, either pre-action or earlier in the litigation process than usual.
I think the driving force is that early settlement, particularly in the current climate, gives the certainty of resolution with an opponent whilst they are solvent, trading and able to quickly settle.
Mediation during Covid-19
The pandemic has also seen virtual mediations taking place quickly and effectively with multiple parties in different locations.
I had reservations that virtual mediation would take away the ability for a casual, persuasive chat in a corridor or by the coffee machine with an opponent’s representative. I was wrong. The ability is still there, as virtual mediation allows the creation of break out rooms into which advisors or parties can be virtually placed to have such conversations.
A mediation serves the purpose of bringing parties to the table (even if virtually) with the benefit of an independent mediator working between them to explore common ground for a resolution and highlight areas of exposure for each side. The aim of mediation is to leave with a settlement which both sides are comfortable with and which alleviates the risk and expense of ongoing litigation. It’s why, when I’m asked “Will I win?” about a mediation, my answer is that there is never a winner in mediation.
The role of a litigation lawyer
Although I am driven by disputes, I am also driven to turn your distress into success, whether that is by means of an amicable settlement or by guiding you through the litigation process to trial. No matter what the dispute or how you choose to settle it – you’ll want us on your side.