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Contracted mediation could spell end of litigation culture

CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION could be dramatically reduced if the industry adopted contracted mediation rather than resolving disputes by adjudication or arbitration, it was claimed this week.

According to the founders of ResoLex, a new contracted mediation service aimed specifically at the construction industry, more than 80% of disputes could be resolved amicably outside the courts, leaving parties to continue work and, more importantly, carry on their working relationships.

'I have played the adjudication and litigation game and it is not a pleasant process, ' said Jonathan Goring, a director at Symonds Group which is behind the new mediation scheme. 'The tougher the market is the nastier people can become - this is a great alternative.'

Symonds has launched the ResoLex service with the chambers of leading London barrister Roger Henderson QC, a specialist in commercial law and dispute resolution. Both groups will contribute expertise to mediation teams sent to projects.

Contracted mediation is a US developed method of alternative dispute resolution which has already been used successfully on projects such as the Hong Kong Airport construction. Both parties to a contract agree from the start to use the service and appoint a mediation panel to oversee disputes. For a fixed monthly fee, this panel brokers solutions outside the courts before the problem escalates.

ResoLex barrister and mediation expert Patrick Green commented: 'Adjudication is not delivering, particularly in partnering contracts. Contracted mediation is a very cost effective solution. And it is a solution where the contractor does not have to walk away from the project to get a decision.'

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