Graeme is an experienced barrister practising mainly in the areas of Chancery and Commercial Law including Inheritance cases. Without sacrifice of intellectual and academic standards as applied to legal rules and issues, he is acutely conscious of the need, especially in the mediation context, to look beyond the technical legal issues at the wider picture and its practical impact on the lives of the individuals involved.
Graeme is enthusiastic about the benefits of mediation for many reasons: not just because of the potential saving of costs, time and stress, but because mediation empowers the parties. In litigation compulsion is the order of the day at every stage, and in the end the judge delivers a judgment from on high, which one or other of the parties (or even both) will not like. Mediation offers the parties the opportunity to co-operate to find a solution that everyone can live with. Graeme has a strong sense of the responsibility, and privilege, that the mediator has in helping the parties to find that solution.
Graeme is a good listener – an often undervalued factor. For judges it is natural and for some lawyers it is all too tempting to want to dictate the agenda, but mediations frequently demonstrate how the things that matter most to parties are not the things that feature most prominently in the case as presented on paper. Often enough they are things that could not have been ordered by a judge if the dispute had gone to a trial. Graeme understands the importance of letting the parties tell their story.
Graeme is positive in his approach to all challenges and problems and naturally encourages a positive attitude in parties towards searching for a solution to their dispute; that of course includes facing difficulties realistically. Graeme can combine sympathy for the feelings of frustration and bitterness that can often accompany a dispute with an ability to emphasize firmly the benefits of finding a long-term solution that will enable the parties eventually to put those negative feelings in the past.
Graeme’s training as a mediator is in the school of thought which sees the mediator as essentially a catalyst, assisting the parties to move and work towards a solution that both or all sides can see as workable and fair, rather than seeking to impose his own views; but he sees that as entirely consistent, especially in private session with any one side, with inviting the parties to think outside the box or putting questions which may robustly challenge their assumptions about the strength of their own case.
Graeme has experience of conducting mediations in the fields of commercial debt, commercial equipment hire and Inheritance Act claims.