Professional Invoice & Service Dispute Mediation

Resolving Invoices and Services Disputes

Disputes involving invoices and services are an inevitable part of life, they are distracting, drain business resources, are expensive, waste productive time, cause delays, disrupt work, and can be stressful and emotionally draining for both the client and the business owner.

If you are a client

A client may feel that their concerns about the quality of work done, quality of goods or materials supplied, problems with delivery, and problems with product descriptions have not been addressed. The client may refuse to pay the invoice until, their issues and concerns have been resolved to their satisfaction.

If you are a business owner

Alternatively, you could be a business owner having a problem with a client, and you feel that you are not making any progress with the client. You have been through your complaints procedure, You may have offered some type of redress to the client and this has not been accepted.

Traditionally a business owner would have had to resort to a long and expensive process of litigation. With the uncertainty as to the outcome of any court action and the possibility that any legal costs could exceed the value of the transaction in dispute.

Alexander Christian Mediation can help both parties resolve their consumer dispute in an amicable way. Reach a settlement agreement, quickly and cheaply. Avoid the need for costly and lengthy court litigation.


Mediation is a quick and effective method of resolving business disputes which can adversely affect your business reputation. Solicitor and Court proceedings can take a long time, be very expensive and cause long-lasting damage to your business through media reports, social media posts, bad reviews and loss of standing in the trade or profession. Mediation offers a different route to resolving these business disputes. Mediation has a much softer approach than traditional solicitor letters and court litigation. This latter approach tends to fix parties' positions and damages relationships. Mediation allows parties to talk about their grievances whilst maintaining relationships. Mediation is a much quicker and easier process to achieving a settlement.

There is a growing trend towards resolving disputes through mediation compared to litigation. In part this is due to the increased availability of mediation and the recognised value of mediation in solving disputes.

Mediation can help resolve issues such as:

  • Performance breaches.
  • Issues over the price and quality of goods.
  • Recovery of debt and refunds.
  • Delivery delays.
  • Contractual and terms of service disputes.
  • Outsourcing, supplier and contractor disputes.

How can mediation protect my brand/ reputation?

When a compliant is made and left unresolved, this can increase the chance that business reputation can suffer. We at Alexander Christian Mediation can help parties in a dispute to find a mutually agreeable solution. Allowing both parties to move on.

Preventing a complaint from escalating

One of the most useful features of mediation and alternative dispute resolution. The ability to stop complaints escalating and getting out of hand, cannot be underestimated. The quicker and earlier that you start engaging with the party making a complaint the better.

By contacting Alexander Christian Mediation at the start of a complaint, we can assist both parties to come to a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation is confidential.

This can prevent damage to a business brand and professional reputation. It can also prevent the client from potentially having a county court judgement against them, which could damage their credit profile.

Resolving a complaint when stalement has occurred

When communication has broken down. Mediation can help to break those barriers to communication and resolution.

Benefits of mediation through learning

A hidden benefit of mediation is that mediation allows both parties to learn from past events. Both parties in mediation are allowed to speak freely about their dispute and to express their concerns and frustrations. This can be very enlightening, and help to restore their relationship.

Mediation reduces risks of reputation damage

Both parties' reputation is at stake. The client could be considered a bad payer and future service could be refused by a supplier. They could also suffer from what they might regard as unfair accusations and non-payment.

Disputes involve worry, expense and time for both parties.

What do mediators do?

Mediators help parties in a dispute to communicate about the issues of concern to them and help participants to negotiate and find solutions that are acceptable to everyone involved. At the end of the mediation process, it is hoped the parties can come to a mutually agreed solution. Mediators are neutral and have no interest in the outcome of the dispute and cannot impose an outcome on the parties, unlike a Judge at court.

Mediators will help you to manage your emotions and communicate with the other party. The mediator will help you to make your points calmly, and clearly, listen to the other side without interrupting and getting angry. The mediator will help you identify what is important, and what is problematic. You and the other party decide on possible solutions and the outcome of the process. The Mediator will help you if you are finding the process stressful.

Do mediators provide legal advice?

Mediators do not give legal advice. The mediator will not suggest possible solutions or advise you on whether any proposed solution is in your interests or not. The mediator will remain completely impartial. Your solicitor can attend mediation to provide you with legal advice during mediation.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation is quicker than litigation

Generally, mediation is much quicker than the traditional court route. You book an appointment with a mediator and mediation can take place. With the court route you might have to wait many months for a court hearing date which may be cancelled at short notice, even on the day. This can result in many months of delays, whilst you wait on a new hearing date that all parties can attend. If a court hearing is cancelled, you will be charged a deemed fee by the barrister, and a further fee for any future hearing.

Disputes can drag on for a long time before getting to Court. While the dispute rumbles on towards a hearing, you will be expected to commit a huge amount of time, energy, and money to maintain your legal position and prepare for the hearing. So, mediating early can save you huge sums of money.

Mediation is cheaper and quicker.

Mediation has a very high success rate

Mediation has a very high success rate. Which means both parties can resolve their matter and move on. Financial resources, time, and emotions are not spent on litigation which could last 12-24 months, plus contractual interest will also be accruing on a daily rate.

To avoid court

Mediation gives parties to a dispute an alternative to the traditional expensive and risky route of litigation. Parties enter into negotiations to find an agreement. Creative solutions can be found that would not be open to a judge to order.

Why Mediate instead of going to court?

When in mediation, you are in control of the process, and you can reach an agreement based on the interests of the parties. When you go to court to resolve an issue, the Judge will make a judgment based on the law, and the interests of each party may not be considered.

Mediation allows you to stay in control. You have greater control over the decisions you make, unlike the court route, where a Judge decides for you. In mediation, you can decide how you want to resolve the dispute. As mediation is voluntary, you both decide the outcome.

Mediation can help to maintain relationships. Going through Court is polarising and will put pressure on relationships. Mediation focuses on communication and finding solutions that work for everyone.

Disputes can be resolved by considering the parties' interests rather than legal rights. After court proceedings, even the 'winner' can feel deflated, the court might make an order, but it might not be what was expected. Costs might be contested, leading to further proceedings, and they might feel that it has taken an emotional toll, and diverted time away from other things or people, Mediation could resolve the matter quicker.

The mediation process:

  • is confidential.
  • no mediation notes are retained.
  • offers are without prejudice.
  • the outcome is private, unless parties agree otherwise and/or other parties need to be informed so that payments/ actions can be taken such as orders being drawn up.

Parties are not committed to a negotiated deal until a written agreement is drawn up by the parties, or their solicitors and signed by both parties and their solicitors.

Where the Court feels mediation should be considered and one party unreasonably refuses. The Court might bear this in mind when making a judgment, in relation to costs.

Mediation is a very successful method of resolving disputes and offers a cheaper route to justice than the court system.

Mediation can help you deal with larger organisations

Mediation can help you deal with larger more powerful organisations. As mediation can help avoid large legal costs. Mediation can help to level the playing field, as large organisations have larger financial reserves.

Mediation preserves relationships

Mediation can help to preserve supply chains, resolve issues with buyers, and maintain funding arrangements. This can help prevent problems with profitability and cash flow. Mediation can help to prevent competitors taking over your clients and market.

Is there a right time to mediate?

There is not a wrong time to mediate. Mediation can take place at any time before your case reaches a final hearing.

The best time to mediate is as soon as you can . This will help reduce the amount of time and money spent on the dispute. Before the parties become entrenched in their legal positions and before large sums have been spent on legal expenses.

How long does mediation take?

Both sides may come to an agreement in a couple of hours, or it might take more than a couple of sessions. Most civil mediation meetings are concluded in a day.

What happens in a dispute mediation?

The mediator will allow the parties to speak freely about their concerns about their dispute. The parties will be able to talk about their problems and concerns. The mediator will help the parties to communicate and understand the each side's point of view and attempt to to come to a mutually acceptable settlement.

During the course of the day, the dispute mediation process will provide you with the best possible chance of negotiating a mutually agreed solution. Once agreed, you will both draft and sign a legally binding mediation agreement which sets out the terms of the solution you negotiated together. The mediator is not involved in the drafting of this agreement. This is to ensure complete impartiality.

Do I have to be in the same room as the person I am in mediation with?

You do not have to be in the same room as the other party you are in dispute with. The Mediator will use private rooms to help you resolve your disagreement without direct contact.

Usually, the parties book three rooms. In the larger room, both parties usually attend to make their opening statements. Thereafter parties are in smaller separate rooms. If settlement is achieved both parties will attend the larger room for them or their lawyers to draft the agreement.

Who drafts the agreement?

When a settlement is reached. The settlement agreement must be recorded in writing in the agreed terms by the parties themselves or their solicitors. The mediator will play no part in the writing of the settlement agreement or signing of the agreement.

Who signs the agreement?

The settlement agreement must be signed by all the parties and their lawyers, and must state the agreed outcome of the mediation.

What is in the agreement?

The settlement agreement must state the agreed outcome of the mediation. Where legal documents may be required to be drawn up at a later date. It should be clearly stated in the agreement. The settlement agreement will need to clearly mention if  legal documents - draft order, contract, undertaking or other document will need to be drawn up at a later date.

Are mediation agreements legally binding?

In civil and commercial mediation any written agreement is legally binding.

What happens if there is no agreement?

You might have made good progress in the mediation, but you did quite reach a settlement. In this situation it can be helpful to take a break to think things over, then resume mediation in a couple of days.

Who pays for mediation?

Who pays for mediation will depend on the type of dispute. Generally both sides pay an equal share of the mediation fee, room /venue costs, refreshment costs, mediators travels and accomodation costs.

Pre-action protocol

Under Civil Procedure Rules (Pre-Action Protocol), the Courts require parties to have actively engaged in other forms of dispute resolution before preceeding to to issue Court Proceedings. Penalties can be imposed if they win or lose at Court.

When is dispute mediation unsuitable?

There are some circumstances when mediation from the outset may not be suitable.

There are:

  • One of both of the parties are not willing to mediate/ negotiate.
  • The dispute may not be capable of being negotiated.
  • There may be extreme conflict and an imbalance of power that the mediator cannot redress.
  • One or both parties feel forced to attend.
  • Mediation has already been fully attempted.
  • When a point of law needs to be decided on by a Court.
  • Where injunctive relief is needed to protect one party.
  • Where either party displays a lack of commitment.
  • Where either party is unable to accept the situation or is unable to negotiate.
  • A party is simply not ready to let go of their position.

Mediation is not a Legal Service, but is a separate Mediation Service

Useful information:

The Mediation ProcessAdvantages and Disadvantages of Mediation

The Firm serves the local areas of Pinner, Pinner Green, Pinner High Street, Harrow, North Harrow, West Harrow, South Harrow, Rayners Lane, Hatch End, Eastcote, Roxeth,  Northwood, Northwood Hills, Ruislip, Wembley, Stanmore, Kenton, Kingsbury, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, London and surrounding areas.

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