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It's not always black and white

Trusts and estates disputes have increased, but they don’t have to end up in court. Mediation is ingrained in litigation and a wise choice for clients, says Tony Cockayne

25 February 2013

Many years ago, mediation was not common practice. But the process, whereby a neutral third party helps others reach an agreement, is now an accepted form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ?And it plays a vital role in trusts and estates cases. These disputes can divide families, rack up unnecessary costs, and tend to be fought out in a highly emotionally charged atmosphere. Mediation provides a tactical approach.

All litigators are familiar with the legal obligations in relation to ADR. The position is no different for lawyers acting in this specialised area as the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) practice direction on pre-action conduct sets out. It reads: “Starting proceedings should usually be a step of last resort, and proceedings should not normally be started when a settlement is still actively being explored.

“Although ADR is not compulsory, the parties should consider whether some f...

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