What is business mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution - an alternative to going to court. It is much quicker and cheaper than court proceedings, and you can still go to court later if the mediation fails.
We set aside a few hours, or a whole day, depending how complicated the dispute is. We get everyone together in one place, but with each side in their own room. I shuttle between the two sides and ask careful probing questions to understand the key issues.
I don't decide anything for you, but I will help guide you to a settlement if there is one to be had.
The vast majority of mediations settle on the day, saving everyone enormous amounts of time and money which would be otherwise spent on court proceedings.
Why instruct me?
I have real-world business experience
I have twenty years experience in business, having built two businesses from start-up to seven-figure exit. One was a property maintenance field service business, the other a hotel reservation software business. My business experience can help me get up to speed very quickly on the real business issues underlying your dispute. I can also connect very effectively with people from all walks of life, and bridge the gap between them.
Early in my career I worked at OC&C Strategy Consultants, so I know something about how big corporates work, through client work at OC&C. I have seen the tensions that can arise in all sorts of commercial relationships and transactions, and I understand how to resolve these tensions.
I am good at understanding, and explaining, things
I will be on top of the detail. I will understand the numbers. I will ask careful probing questions that get to the nub of an issue. I will be able to explain your points clearly to the other side.
And you'll get crystal clear explanations from me as I relay points back to you from the other side.
I am calm and friendly. I am naturally curious and I love hearing about complex problems which might seem intractable. I build rapport with people easily and can work with almost anybody.
I am academically very capable (Oxbridge science degree; top 1% in UK Civil Service numerical / verbal reasoning tests).
I have seen many different types of dispute
Here are some examples of disputes that I have helped to resolve:
- Partnership dispute (£35k): I acted as mediator in this dispute between former business partners. The partnership had broken down and there was disagreement over the value of the partnership assets. Mediation enabled the two sides to agree a settlement of this years-long dispute and avoid an expensive and risky trial.
- Release of retention monies (£50k): I acted as mediator in this dispute between a business buyer and seller over the timely release of money held in escrow after the sale of the business. The dispute had been rumbling along for several years, but settled by lunchtime on the day of mediation.
- Contract dispute (£15k): I mediated this simple contract dispute which had become very acrimonious, with one side accusing the other of criminal conduct and refusing to pay the contract sum. The matter settled at mediation, saving both sides considerable legal costs which would have far outweighed the disputed amount had this gone to trial.
- Non performance of international contract (£20k): UK business had failed to fulfil, via its German subsidiary, its obligations to a counterparty. Counterparty was threatening to sue. I reached an agreement whereby the UK business made a payment to the counterparty to drop the claim and terminate the contract. Payment was considerably lower than the potential legal costs of defending the claim.
- Shareholder dispute involving a share purchase option (£1.5m): 40% shareholder wanted to exercise an option to acquire the remaining 60%. Selling shareholders felt that the option terms undervalued the business and were reluctant to co-operate. I reached an agreement with the option holder to let their option lapse, maintaining good relations among the shareholders, leading to a successful trade sale twelve months later.
- Shareholder dispute regarding ongoing funding (£200k): A majority shareholder was asked to inject further funds into a company. They demurred, because other shareholders were not contributing pro-rata. I helped all shareholders agree on a structure which allowed the business to continue, and for the majority shareholder’s contribution to be appropriately recognised.
- Employment matter, unfair dismissal (£20k): The CEO and Chairman had dismissed one of the founding team without due process. The employee-founder was asking to be reinstated or compensated for unfair dismissal. I negotiated a settlement agreement to everyone’s satisfaction.
- Employment matter, absence due to stress (£50k): I helped an education employer to resolve a precarious situation involving a key member of their leadership team. The leader was absent due to stress, and had raised possible grievances with the employer. The situation was itself adding to the leader’s stress, and there was a risk that they would end up being on long term sickness absence due to stress. I negotiated a settlement allowing both sides to bring the situation to a swift and cost-effective conclusion.
- Share purchase/asset purchase agreements (£500k- £1.5m): I have twice negotiated the terms of share purchase agreements to trade buyers of businesses that I have founded. I understand the delicate tensions that can arise in these types of negotiation. I have also assisted with the negotiation of one transaction where the business was changing hands through an asset purchase agreement.
- Education Funding Dispute (£50k): As a school governor, I persuaded the local authority that their decision to withhold certain funding from the school was not consistent with their funding policy. The policy had been poorly worded, so the matter was far from clear. Through careful explanation and negotiation, I persuaded the local authority to honour my interpretation of the policy, securing the funding for our school, and then to rewrite the policy so that it was clear for future schools in future years.
- Education Admissions Dispute: I represented a family at an Admissions Appeal Panel after their son was unlawfully denied a place by the admissions authority. The admissions policy did not comply with the law. The panel directed the admissions authority to admit the child. The admissions authority later amended their policy to bring it into line with the law.
- Housing Rental Arrears/Possession Claims: I am a member of the Ministry of Justice Rental Mediation Panel, taking referrals from the court to mediate landlord / tenant disputes.
- Sport - Discrimination I have mediated a dispute involving a discrimination claim against a sporting organisation. The dispute settled at mediation.
- Neighbour noise / nuisance / boundary disputes: I have assisted in resolving several neighbour disputes on a pro-bono basis for the Winchester Mediation Service.
- Disputes where I have been involved in the mediation as an accredited observer: forfeited deposit on an aborted property purchase (£200k); householder / builder dispute (£200k); telecom contract dispute (£400k); director insolvency, unlawful dividend (£200k); boundary / right-of-way matter (£50k).
People speak highly of me
People who I have helped in the past say lovely things about me:
Accredited as a Civil & Commercial Mediator by the ADR Group
Member of the Society of Mediators
£2m of professional indemnity insurance with Hiscox
Download my CV here: Bruce Greig CV.pdf
My fees are based on the amount of money being disputed (including legal costs):
Half-day is four hours. Full day is eight hours. Additional time is charged pro-rata.
I have many years experience dealing with negotiations and disputes, but I have only recently become accredited as a mediator, and that is reflected in the low relatively fees that I charge at the moment.
Please get in touch for a free no-obligation discussion about your situation using the form below, or contact me directly: email@example.com / 07515 116800 / 01962 435075