Mr Thornton has undertaken an intensive course to qualify as a mediator, a new initiaitive to settle disputes quickly and cost-effectively.

Mr Thornton, who is also head of civil litigation, is now accredited by the London School of Mediation to mediate between opposing parties who want to find a solution yet for some reason can’t reach agreement.

“Mediation is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways of achieving a settlement. Going to trial can be expensive and stressful and often takes months or years of costly litigation – with no guarantees of satisfaction at the end – whereas mediation can be underway in weeks at any stage of the dispute,” he said.

“Most people involved in a dispute would rather reach a settlement than go to trial and it is my job as a mediator to bring together the opposing parties and their advisers in a relaxed atmosphere and encourage them to be flexible in looking for a solution. We want to move away from the old adversarial and confrontational way of settling a dispute and replace it with a more relaxed and principled negotiation; getting the parties to talk things through rationally and constructively so that they can reach a mutually acceptable compromise.”

The process is proving successful in almost all fields of law, such as commercial contracts and professional negligence, workplace and employment, personal injury and commercial disputes.
“In fact, complainants are now being encouraged by the courts to enter into mediation, which is entirely confidential and can also therefore avoid unwanted publicity,” he added.

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