T: +44 (0)1273 553523
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63 Goldstone Crescent
Brighton & Hove
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Background and experience
I am a solicitor by profession (still on the Roll but non-practising) and was senior litigation partner at Bunkers of Brighton & Hove for over 30 years, dealing with and supervising most aspects of litigation practice, latterly specialising in claimant and defendant injury claims and professional indemnity claims, including advocacy. I took a number of clients, including both claimants and insurance companies, into their first mediations of such cases, representing them as advocate, all of which settled. I was accredited as a CEDR Mediator in 1996. Successive editions of Chambers Directory and the Legal 500 have spoken to my reputation as a mediator. I have dealt with all kinds of injury and related claims, both pre- and post-issue, trial and at appeal level, specialising in large value disputes (often several millions) involving issues over liability, causation and quantum. My main specialist areas now are clinical claims of every level of complexity, including cerebral palsy claims; mediation of "right-to-life" cases involving agonising disputes over treatment choices between families and hospitals; and personal injury claims, including workplace stress and inter-managerial problems; and public law and human rights claims, including claims for judicial review over care packages, and claims by and against police and prison staff and the security services.
I have also mediated many other types of dispute, including commercial, insurance, construction, partnership, family business, professional indemnity and personal disputes; claims arising out of package holidays (both between holidaymakers and travel companies and inter-company disputes); and complex legal costs disputes. I played a leading role in the retained organs mediated settlements, and other multi-party disputes. I have dealt with many claims with a foreign element. I am happy to mediate outside England and have done so in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and in South Africa, where I mediated one of the first clinical negligence mediations to be conducted there.
Mediation of clinical negligence claims of all sizes now forms the bulk of my practice, an area of considerable growth since mediation has been promoted in this sector by NHS Resolution and other Medical Defence Organisations. I have handled nearly 200 such cases as a result of the growth of mediation in this sector. About 75% settle on the day and a further 20% settle later. I still accept instructions in personal injury claims and public law disputes. My book Mediating clinical claims, published by Bloomsbury Professional in 2018, is the first specialist text on this subject and distils lessons learned from 20 years of mediating clinical claims and of encouraging growth of the use of mediation in this sector, happily with positive results in since 2015.
I try to adopt a very flexible, warm and informal approach to the mediation process. I am used to tailoring the process to the needs of those engaged in it, both in terms of prior design and also during the mediation day. For instance, I have run mediations where the parties never meet; where they are together virtually all the time; where a key party has been present by conference call or Skype in another country; and where multiple parties are represented by a focus group. However, my mediations normally involve both joint and private meetings, requiring careful preparation of parties for face-to-face encounters for the first time or often after several years of dispute, and also careful attention to confidentiality in private meetings and accuracy in communication between each party. I am used to dealing with cases where there is perceived to be a considerable imbalance of power between claimant and defendant, and also where there is a high emotional content for one or (more usually) all of the parties. I seek to deal with senior counsel and lawyers in mediations in a way that does not interfere with their lawyer-client relationship, and indeed enhances it by my working alongside all present at the mediation, Having myself represented parties in mediations when in private practice, I am alive to the importance of the advice given by lawyers to every client during each mediation, and always seek merely to manage the process constructively so as to make settlement as available as possible, without in any way pressurising parties to settle.
During the Covid-19 lockdown I have developed experience in mediating remotely though the use of Zoom Pro. This platform enables parties to meet in whatever permutation is required, in private or jointly, with the mediator in complete control of who joins the mediation and who meet with whom at every stage. Online mediation has made it possible to deliver resolution in clinical disputes in very much the way that face-to-face mediation offers. Settlement rates are entirely unaffected - all those conducted by me during this period have settled on the day.
Other mediation-related experience
I left private practice in 2000 to become a full time Director of CEDR from then until 2011, during which time I was responsible for developing mediation in the personal injury and clinical claims sector, and also for training mediators and the judiciary, both in the UK and internationally. I continue to be a Senior Consultant with CEDR while working as a freelance mediator and trainer. I have written many articles on the place of ADR in civil justice for CEDR’s website and legal journals. My book Mediation Law and Civil Practice was published by Bloomsbury Professional in September 2013 and I am a co-author of The ADR Practice Guide: Commercial Dispute Resolution. I have worked closely with the Ministry of Justice and the Civil Mediation Council over implementation of the EU Directive on Mediation. For two years I was a member of the Civil Justice Council's Working Group which produced the Civil Justice Council report ADR and CIvil Justice in 2018 I continue to train mediators as a lead member of CEDR’s international faculty, both in the UK and across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia., and l also run seminars regularly for the law faculties at Cambridge, University College and Imperial Colleges in London University and Leicester University.