Welcome to Riviera Mediation

Welcome to Riviera Mediation. I wanted to set out why I have set up this business and why you can potentially benefit from it.

Unfortunately for the best part of the last 15 years I have witnessed a disintegrating and ineffectual court system. Working as a solicitor I have seen at the coalface, the effect this has on my clients. Consistent underfunding of the court and legal system and a huge rise in the number of cases in court, means that cases continually take far longer than they are supposed to. They also cost clients far more than they are expecting. It’s not uncommon for court hearings to be cancelled the night before, after months of preparation, and those normal ‘people’ trying to simply get a resolution are left with increased stress and waste more money and valuable time.

Those involved in a dispute, and especially a court case live and breath it. I have visibly seen the toll it takes both mentally and physically on people. I have lost count of the number of past clients who have had to seek help from their GP, or even in some cases tell me they are suicidal. Last year I bumped into an old client whose case had ended a few months before. He looked literally ten years younger. It was if an enormous weight had lifted from him, and you could sense it in both the way he looked and talked.

This should not be the way we solve our problems.

People spend fortunes on lawyers, to argue and fight issues which are resolvable. The ‘case’ hangs over them often for a year or two, or often much longer. If it’s a neighbour dispute, for example, they are literally living next door to the problem all that time. I have seen disputes destroy families.
In recent years I have had clients come to me who have spent £100-200,00.00 with their previous solicitors and the case was not yet finished. They could have spent that money buying a house!
Having now trained, last year, with the Society of Mediators as a mediator it is not an exaggeration to say I am passionate about it being the answer and solution to most disputes. I had already seen mediation work very effectively in my legal practice, but it was not being pushed hard enough by lawyers or the courts. I think in truth, I also think, that not enough of the public really understand what mediation is or what it can achieve.

If a friend came to me now with a problem, I’d tell them to avoid the courts at all costs. If they already had a solicitor, I’d encourage them to push their own solicitor to explore mediation at the earliest possible opportunity.

Too often solicitors say that a party can’t mediate without all the evidence and facts and at least several months and thousands of pounds worth of legal costs, as everyone needs to everything before they can reach a resolution.

I disagree. To some extent solicitors are protecting themselves, as they want to ensure they aren’t negligent in offering advice in the dark. To some extent, there are certain solicitors’ firms (not all!) where billing hours and making money are the priority, and resolving what might be a lucrative case in a couple of weeks rather than a couple of years, may not suit them. Of course, that’s just me speculating but I believe most things can be resolved if you know the central issues and often some additional details can be an unneeded distraction.

Mediation still has a cost. But I urge you to think about whether you should weigh up that cost against what will happen if your problem still exists in a year, or two years, or even forever.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than at the end of a mediation when I see the look of relief, often on both sides faces that it is all over.

If I told you that next week your problem could be over, would you e-mail or call me? Whatever your problem – it can be resolved.

Ben Tisdall
January 2024