Understanding the need for commercial mediation with landlord and leasing adjustments

March 31, 2020

 

Did you know that up to 97% of court matters are resolved through a mediated settlement? So why not avoid the litigation process and mediate? 

 

In light of Sunday night's announcements from the Prime Minister, the uncertainty that now stands for commercial landlords and tenants has been heightened. While some of us will struggle or worry about paying the rent with decreased income and others are now fearing that vital payments may soon cease; these indeed are worrying times for all involved in commercial property. 

 

So, how can commercial landlords navigate these continual adjustments and changes that affect you personally, along with our tenants? This is where I can help, through a customised mediation service.

 

Appointing a mediator during this time will not only relieve you of the financial burden that a legal case can ensue. But will also enable you to equally include and engage all parties involved; enabling a mature, speedy and constructive discussion. 

 

Mediation vs Litigation

In uncertain and ever-changing times, such as these, mediation offers a cost-effective way to resolve commercial disputes. Whereas not only is litigation a more expensive and time-consuming process, in my opinion, people just do not want to be litigating during these already turbulent times. 

 

Mediators vs Lawyers

Mediators are different from lawyers. We do not represent sides due to our commitment to remaining impartial and working independently. It is essential to keep in mind that as a mediator, I can not talk too much about the issue itself. This allows you to be represented or underrepresented while we work together.

 

In simple terms, mediation is quick and allows you to maintain your autonomy in the issues' decisions and outcomes. Being a flexible and creative approach; when compared to lawyer involvement, I can take the time to understand the situation of all parties involved and make meditated suggestions that consider nuances present in the case; personalising the process to each. 

 

Facilitative and Evaluative Mediation in the Commercial Property World

In situations involving commercial property and landlords, I aim to utilise facilitative mediation to enable an open and constructive brainstorming and discussion session with all parties involved. This is my preferred form of mediation for these situations as it brings all parties together, and I am able to purely offer support and facilitate open conversations to solve sensitive issues. 

 

Whereas, evaluative mediation will see you ask me for my professional legal opinion, which I share with all parties involved; ensuring to abide with privilege and the advice I provide is an evaluation of outcomes. 

 

It is not a mediator's role to provide legal advice, so if you wish to engage in evaluative mediation, it is suggested that you are represented or have some prior legal advice. 

 

 

How Can Voice Lawyers Help? 

As a legal professional and mediator, I offer $250 30-minute phone or Zoom consultations, where I provide advice on navigating the ongoing changes.

 

These consultations aim to provide employers and landlords with initial and up to date advice around this volatile situation before you proceed with a mediation approach. 

 

This mediation process starts with all parties being involved with an intake interview via Zoom. From here, I will proceed to engage in either a half or full-day mediation process. 

 

However, I can work on the matter for as long as is required as parties may be required to come back for multiple sessions after sourcing more information that will assist in solving the issue. 

 

I am an NMAS accredited mediator and am also on the mediators' panel for the Law Society of NSW with a Masters in Law in Dispute Resolution—working in both facilitation and evaluation mediation with represented and unrepresented parties.

 

Meditation allows you to feel empowered and in control of your affairs, and in this climate, it is a quick, smart and cost-effective approach. With litigation, the fees and wait times may not enable you to sort through issues before this crisis is over, or matters worsen. 

 

Having equality in participants' power balances, mediation is the mature path to take when combating commercial disputes and transactions. Leaving all in a position of understanding and autonomy. 

 

Please reach out if you need help during this time, I am here to help you and your business understand and work through these turbulent times. 

 

Kayte Lewis is Principal of Voice Lawyers and Consultants, a Nationally Accredited Mediator (NMAS),  a panel member of the NSW Law Society and holds a Masters in Law in Dispute Resolution. 

Contact Kayte on 02 9261 1954 www.voiceadvocates.com

 

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