An investigation into lawyer attitudes towards the use of mediation in commercial property disputes in England and Wales

Sidoli del Ceno, Julian (2011). An investigation into lawyer attitudes towards the use of mediation in commercial property disputes in England and Wales. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 3(2) pp. 182–198.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/17561451111148275

Abstract

Purpose – The paper seeks to examine empirically the attitudes of English lawyers towards mediation in commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Despite much support from numerous sources there has been very little actual take-up in this sector. It is premised that the future growth of mediation in commercial property disputes is hindered by the negative or sceptical perspectives held by some lawyers towards mediation.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on data from questionnaires and a series of qualitative interviews with a variety of landlord and tenant lawyers combined with a thorough examination of existing literature.

Findings – Many lawyers were not keen to recommend the use of mediation. This was partly because of unfamiliarity as well as concerns that mediation is not a genuine legal process and that consequently it lacked status. Legal culture was identified as a problem here. Lawyers also felt that mediation was inappropriate in many cases. Education was suggested as having an important role in changing expectations, providing skills and raising awareness.

Research limitations/implications – The qualitative data are based on a relatively small sample of lawyers active within the UK commercial property sector. Nevertheless, a wide cross-section of practitioners was chosen.

Originality/value – The paper provides original data on the attitudes and perspectives of lawyers active in commercial property disputes. This is an area that has yet to receive sustained attention.

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