Leading names join board of PI mediation service

Wallis: increased recognition of role of mediation in difficult PI claims

A host of well-known names in the world of personal injury have joined the board of specialist mediation provider Trust Mediation.

The expansion follows the retirement of founding chairman and former Court of Appeal judge Sir Henry Brooke as a director. He has now been appointed as the company’s honorary president.

Trust Mediation founder Tim Wallis, the one-time defendant lawyer who is now also independent chairman of RTA Portal Co, has become the new chairman.

Trust Mediation is a not-for-profit service offering fixed-price mediations. The mediators on its panel charge a commercial fee for mediation but the directors provide their services as directors on a voluntary basis. Since launching five years ago, it has a settlement rate of nearly 90%.

The new directors are leading multi-party action specialist Paul Balen, a consultant at Nottingham-based Freeth Cartwright; barrister Andrea Barnes, one of the founder mediators of the Court Based Mediation Scheme; Lea Brocklebank, a partner at DAC Beachcroft Claims Limited and like Mr Wallis a past president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers; Brian Dawson, senior partner at Chester-based Walker Smith & Way and a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ national executive; and Philip Hesketh, a well-known solicitor turned mediator.

Like existing directors Judith Kelbie and Frances McCarthy, they are all accredited mediators.

Speaking on behalf of the new directors, Mr Balen said: “We have all been involved with Trust Mediation for some time and have contributed to the impressive settlement statistics. We look forward to playing our role in seeing Trust Mediation playing a more prominent role in the sector as we move into the Jackson era which we see as likely to give mediation a new impetus.”

Mr Wallis said there is an increased recognition of the role that mediation has to play in difficult personal injury claims. He said:  “Most personal injury claims settle, sooner or later, and most settle by established routine. What we have found over the last five years, however, is that some difficult cases – or ordinary cases with difficult people – do not settle easily and for those mediation can provide practitioners with a really effective tool to reach the client’s objective and quickly.”

He also pointed to Lord Justice Jackson’s report, which said it is wrong to assume that personal injury cases cannot be resolved through mediation, so long as the mediators are experienced personal injury practitioners.