Monday, 28 October 2019

Mediation isn't always the answer

A Shropshire solicitor says mediation is not always the right way for businesses to resolve commercial disputes.

Andrew Oranjuik, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said currently anyone involved in a dispute was expected to consider mediation to try to resolve the issue.

“For a long time, it has rightly been recognised that mediation was usually preferable to taking a case through the courts.

“The process has a high success rate as both sides are brought together to reach a settlement with the aid of a skilled and neutral third party – and if a settlement is reached, it will certainly be less expensive than a court case. But mediation is not right in every case and sometimes it can cynically be used as a tactic by one of the parties involved.”

Mr Oranjuik’s advice follows a case where he and his team acted for a defendant in a commercial dispute over the ownership of industrial equipment.

“The other side’s case appeared to be weak, and despite offers and counter-offers being made, it was clear they were not interested in anything other than total victory, and they were pressing for us to take it to mediation.

“But we advised our client not to agree to mediation as it’s not an inexpensive process and we believed the chances of achieving a settlement were very slim given the other party’s approach.”

The case resulted in a two-day trial in the county court where the claim against Mr Oranjuik’s client was dismissed.

“There was then an argument over costs – the claimant said our client should not recover costs because we had refused to mediate. But after reviewing the offers that had been made, the court ruled our client had acted reasonably and so costs were awarded.

“Refusing to mediate will often be unreasonable, and if that’s the case, the refusing party can expect to be criticised by the court and face the consequences. But it’s not a universal rule and clients involved in a dispute should be wary of the other side trying to bounce them into mediation to get a settlement.

“Each proposal for mediation should be considered on its own merits, and depending on the case, allowing the courts to decide may turn out to be a better approach.”

Monday, 14 October 2019

Personal injury experts in the county town

A Shropshire law firm is extending the reach of its personal injury team by offering support from its newly-opened Shrewsbury office.

Experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, which also has offices in Telford and Wolverhampton, will now be available at the office in the county town to deal with clients and their claims.

Partner and Head of the Personal Injury Department, Alison Carter, said the move would make it more convenient for clients from the Shrewsbury area with advice available in the heart of the town in Bellstone Court.

“There are three of us who handle personal injury claims and we work with clients who have suffered personal injury as a result of a road traffic incident, an accident at work or in a public place, or other accidental injuries that may be eligible for compensation – we don’t however handle medical negligence claims.”

Mrs Carter specialises in claimant personal injury work and has managed Martin-Kaye’s team of specialist lawyers since for over 20 years. She is a member of APIL – the organisation that promotes full and fair compensation for all types of personal injury claimants – and she is a member of the specialist Law Society Personal Injury Panel.

The other members of the personal injury team at Martin-Kaye are Chartered Legal Executive Sarah Mears and Associate Solicitor Alison Thornton.

Mrs Mears has worked for Martin-Kaye for 20 years and she vets new claims within the department. She is also a member of the Shropshire and Mid-Wales CILEX branch.

Mrs Thornton, who is an Associate Solicitor, worked for a number of large regional and national firms before joining Martin-Kaye in 2003, and she has successfully negotiated many different types of claims including fast-track and multi-track cases featuring road traffic injuries, industrial injuries and public liability.

“Our team has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims and we have won millions of pounds in compensation for thousands of clients,” said Mrs Carter.

“We’re looking forward to working more closely with clients in the Shrewsbury area and to delivering similarly impressive results to those we’ve achieved for our Telford-based claimants.”

Pictured: From left, Alison Carter, Alison Thornton and Sarah Mears at the Martin-Kaye office in Shrewsbury