“In my experience, parties to a dispute spend significant financial, administrative and emotional resources in presenting their legal arguments and agitating for their cause before considering the real issues behind their dispute, and how their dispute may be resolved by reference to their underlying needs, interests and objectives. To me, this makes little sense where, as a profession, we know that a vast majority of disputes will be resolved by way of negotiation well before any factual or legal arguments are considered or determined by a Court or tribunal.
Although it remains imperative that parties’ legal rights and entitlements are properly considered and presented, gone are the days where this can be the sole or primary focus, and where parties’ needs and interests become an afterthought. Clients should receive considered advice that appropriately balances their legal rights and entitlements with their underlying needs, interests and objectives before they set off towards what is often unfamiliar, daunting and challenging territory for most people and organisations.”
– Stephen Dickinson, Ansr. Dispute Resolution
Where clients and professional advisors join together to resolve disputes
“I have known Stephen Dickinson professionally for approximately 20 years. Stephen instructed me on a small number of occasions whilst I was still practising at the Adelaide Bar. I found Stephen to be a diligent, highly competent and incisive practitioner whose goal was to advance the interests of his client consistently with his other professional obligations as a legal practitioner. He was always fully alive to all issues generated by his litigious matters.
Since 2014, in the course of my mediation practice, I have conducted some 5 or 6 mediations in which Stephen has been the solicitor for one or more of the parties. Again, I found Stephen to bring to his task all the qualities which he exhibited whilst instructing me. Moreover, Stephen has always adopted a very constructive and positive approach to mediations and has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the benefits to the lay client of a settlement as opposed to litigating a matter to the bitter end. He has shown an awareness of the non-economic interests of his clients in bringing about a settlement.
At mediations, Stephen has always demonstrated both a willingness to assist the mediator to achieve a compromise and, specifically, a high degree of candour about the strengths and weaknesses of his client’s case without, of course, compromising the interests of his client. It is this last attribute which has been of particular assistance to me as a mediator.”
Philip McNamara QC
Matters of note
- Unlike Ansr. Mediation Services, Ansr. is able to provide legal advice when representing one party to a dispute, or a number of parties who share common legal interests
- The need for additional specialist advice will be subject to the nature of the dispute and the financial means of the parties, and may involve the introduction of barristers, accountants, taxation/superannuation specialists, licenced valuers, engineers, builders, quantity surveyors, forensic accountants and other experts in their field
- Ansr. has a network of highly skilled experts and specialists in each of these areas that can be recommended to clients
- It may become necessary for Ansr. to recommend to clients that legal proceedings be commenced before initiating negotiations or proceeding to mediation where Court orders are required to protect the interests of clients, including to secure assets, maintain the status quo, seek the disclosure of relevant information or to simply compel others to cooperate
- This will only be recommended by Ansr. where commencing legal proceedings and the seeking of Court orders is necessary to protect the interests of clients, and where doing so will enable clients to become fully informed and properly prepare for any attempts at settlement, including at mediation
- In the unlikely event that a matter is not capable of being resolved, Ansr. has longstanding relationships with specialist litigation solicitors and barristers that can be recommended to clients where legal proceedings become unavoidable
- In this event, unlike other dispute resolution practices, Ansr. will ensure that clients can refer to and rely upon work performed, expert advice and reports received and correspondence sent during the dispute resolution process for the purpose of any future legal proceedings, including to protect clients on the question of legal costs, thus avoiding wasted time, effort and money