Ignore mediation at your peril.
With property disputes, emotions can run high. As my father, who was an architect turned property developer, often used to say, “It’s not the bricks and mortar that’s the problem, it’s the people!” A property dispute may have arisen because of an inheritance, a relationship break-up, a spat with a neighbour or a heated meeting onsite between contractors. They are often interwoven with family business disputes, if nothing else because there is likely to be business premises/a small holding/a manufacturing plant at stake as well. Behind every property dispute there is a human story and unpicking that is often the key to finding a solution.
That’s where mediation – a negotiation between parties outside of court of arbitration facilitated by an independent third-party neutral – can be highly effective. A mediator will listen to the dispute and help each party to see the other’s point of view. Sometimes an apology early on in a mediation from one party to the other can unlock new ways of thinking. Since the mediation is confidential and without prejudice to any court proceedings, the apology does not bear the incumbent risk of being an admission of liability if it were to be made in open correspondence.