Mediation

Conflict can be a powerful agent for change but, allowed to escalate out of control, it can tear families apart and destroy not only the family's fortunes, but those of all dependent upon them, for example the employees of a family business and their dependants.

Mediation is a confidential process, conducted without prejudice to the parties' rights in law, in which a skilled, neutral third party helps the parties to identify what their underlying interests are; to identify and explore possible means of satisfying those interests; and, hopefully, to find a durable resolution acceptable to all. Mediation may be used as an alternative to litigation, or as an adjunct to it.

As mediator, my role is to design and manage the mediation process, and to facilitate the ensuing dialogue.

Experience

    My experience includes multi-party, multi-jurisdictional and inter-cultural disputes, with values in dispute up to US$200 million, including:

    • will disputes founded on lack of capacity, want of knowledge and approval, and/or undue influence;
    • claims under the English Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims by widows, cohabitees, minor children and adult children/carers, including competing claims to the same estate;
    • cohabitee claims under the Trusts of Land and Trustees Act 1996;
    • breach of trust and fiduciary duty: alleged taking of unauthorised fees by trustee;
    • breach of trust and fiduciary duty: alleged unlawful retention of trust property by trustee;
    • breach of trust and fiduciary duty: alleged negligent investment management;
    • sham /breach of trust: trustee allegedly acting at "settlor's" direction;
    • dispute as to ownership and control of pooled family funds;
    • divorce settlements;
    • negotiation of pre-nuptial agreements;
    • negotiation of shareholders' agreements for family businesses;
    • deadlock between family trustees owning family businesses;
    • deadlock between family (including step-family) co-directors;
    • negotiation of break up of family trusts under Saunders v Vautier;
    • inter-employee conflict affecting productivity in a medium sized shareholder managed business;
    • inter-generational conflicts concerning succession to ownership and control of family businesses;
    • dispute between family trusts owning business managed by their principal beneficiaries concerning balancing contribution and reward.