TLT Solicitors testdrives web-based mediation

Legal disputes between people on opposite sides of the world could soon become a lot cheaper and easier to resolve now that online mediation has reached the UK

Commercial law firm TLT Solicitors was recently involved in Europe&#39s first online mediation demonstration, with head of mediation Kerry Gwyther acting for the defendant in a mock construction dispute that lasted four days.

&#34In theory, it works the same as a face-to-face mediation. The parties are normally in separate rooms for private sessions and the mediator moves between them all, hoping they&#39ll reach a deal,&#34 explained Gwyther. &#34Instead of having &#39real&#39 rooms, we divide the parties into secure cyber chat rooms and the mediator moves between them.&#34

Although Gwyther was impressed by the technology and believes it will catch on, he thinks the face-to-face option will remain the most popular.

He said: &#34This exercise illustrated the versatility and flexibility of mediation. While it will not be suitable for all types of dispute, I can see its uses for disputes where the parties are in different jurisdictions and time zones and are comfortable with the electronic medium.&#34