BTMK : Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialists
At BTMK, we’ve established ourselves as leaders in dealing with Alternative Dispute Resolution methods for over a decade. We’ve settled cases worth millions of pounds using modern alternative dispute resolution methods, including Mediation, Arbitration, Adjudication and Early Neutral Evaluation. Everyone knows that contested litigation is becoming more and more expensive, Court fees are spiralling and the parties’ experience through the Courts is deteriorating – even small claims track cases can take up to a year to be heard. Longer running, more complex disputes in busy Courts such as Central London County Court or in divisions of the High Court can take several years to come to a conclusion. We’ve participated in hundreds of mediations over the years and we can advise and guide you through ADR processes in almost every different type of litigation; whether it involves your business, your land or property, your money or even a dispute over a Will or a disputed inheritance.
It’s worth just taking a moment to look at these different forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) and where they can be useful:
Mediation – the parties look to settle a dispute, any type of dispute, with the assistance of a skilled mediator. These are often known as “shuttle mediations” where the mediator looks to bring the parties together throughout the day, resolving specific issues in the claim and attempting to reach a “middle ground” which allows everyone to exit the ongoing litigation. The process is now commonly used before proceedings are even commenced. We’ve been involved in hundreds of mediations, resolving all types of disputes and overwhelmingly, once the parties go to mediation, there is often a successful settlement reached.
Arbitration – the parties look to settle a dispute with a skilled arbitrator being appointed by the parties. Arbitrations can take place pursuant to statutory legislation or by agreement of the parties such as clauses that may be inserted into a contract to agree to deal with any disputes through arbitration rather than through the Courts. Arbitrations can be industry-specific, such as a recent matter that BTMK dealt with relating to a film distribution agreement through the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) Arbitration Scheme. The ease of recognition of arbitration awards and enforcement of them are often seen as one of the key benefits of arbitration – an international treaty exists for the mutual recognition and enforcement of these awards. Over 150 countries have agreed to it and the UK is one of them.
Adjudication – Adjudication is a statutory dispute resolution procedure for the construction sector, introduced by the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. The intention behind this sector-specific scheme is to ensure that in a long-running construction contract, a relatively minor (or major) dispute can be resolved without bringing the entire contract to an end. It allows parties to resolve issues which may arise along the way in a measured and constructive fashion, allowing the contract to proceed to completion with decisions being made on problem-issues along the way.
Early Neutral Evaluation – Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) has become more popular over the years. It has been encouraged by the English Courts and is now even provided for in the Civil Procedure Rules with ENE being offered in the Chancery Division of the High Court, the Commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court. ENE schemes can be obtained privately too.
ENE can be used to explore many different legal or factual issues in a particular piece of litigation. ENE is usually non-binding, and the process is held on a “without prejudice” basis meaning that there is confidentiality around the process.
ENE is particularly useful where the parties have reached a stage of the litigation process where the positions are entrenched and the deadlock needs to be broken. An unbiased opinion of what the outcome would be if the matter went to trial is often a great advantage in trying to break that deadlock.
Settlement Meetings – more and more frequently, the parties and their lawyers are often proactive in agreeing to meet and discuss the issues in a sensible, constructive fashion. Often, the expense of a formal mediator, venue hire and (often) barristers can be avoided. These types of meetings are particularly useful when dealing with non-emotive types of litigation, such as professional negligence or contractual claims, often between larger businesses. In those circumstances, the parties simply want to reach a commercial settlement and deal with some key issues which often benefit from the parties meeting face-to-face.
At BTMK, we’ve long held the view that we’ve no interest in dragging on expensive and complex litigation. Often, a commercial settlement, without the benefit of a judicial decision, substantial legal costs and importantly, a loss of management time, is precisely what is required.
BTMK were recently instructed on the enforcement of an arbitration award made by the IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) Arbitration Scheme.
Uri Singer, the President of Passage Pictures & Voltage Pictures based in Hollywood, recommended BTMK recently:
Voltage Pictures instructed Nitin Khandhia at BTMK Solicitors in the UK to take enforcement proceedings against a UK film distributor arising out of a highly specialist arbitration (IFTA International Arbitration Tribunal Los Angeles). I was very pleased to learn that we made a full recovery of the monies owed to us from the UK Film Distributor and was extremely pleased with the service and the outcome achieved by BTMK. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend BTMK on these types of complex litigation matters.
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