Ben Dures Civil Mediation

Ben Dures mediation

Ben Dures Mediation logo

Free mediation at UEA Law Clinic

Ben Dures is a qualified solicitor and mediator, with over 25 years’ experience in dispute resolution. He offers free mediation service to anyone in the Norfolk area who is unable to afford the services of a paid mediator.

The mediation is for 'civil law' matters. Civil mediation covers most types of dispute, but does not include family or employment cases.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a way of trying to settle cases without going to court.

Although the mediator’s role is not to force a settlement or judge the case, most people who mediate do reach an agreement (around 86% of them). Mediating a dispute can avoid months or years of stress and expense. But in mediation you are in control. You decide whether or not to settle and what terms you would be happy with.

You also don't have to see the other party - you can each be in your own room, with the mediator moving between rooms.

The whole process is entirely confidential, and the mediator will not pass any information to the other party unless given permission. Anything discussed in the mediation cannot be referred to in court, unless both parties agree. Courts expect people who go to court to have tried mediation first.

A mediator does not give legal advice and has to stay impartial throughout. We find that mediations are more likely to succeed if parties have had some legal advice beforehand, but there is no obligation.

How does it work?

We offer a single mediation session of up to three hours' duration, on a Friday morning, which can either be face to face or online. In practice, face to face usually means 'shuttle mediation' in which the participants are in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between them. The parties can choose to be in the same room for some or all of the time if they wish, but there’s no obligation. If virtual, the participants would normally be placed separate virtual rooms.

You can bring a friend or legal advisor if you wish.

If the mediation is face to face, that will take place at UEA Law Clinic on the university campus, and parking will be available. A silent reflection garden is nearby for anyone wishing to have a break.

How do I sign up?

Before the mediation, all participants must sign an Agreement to Mediate, which we will send you. We can only mediate if both parties to a dispute agree, so we will need the other party’s contact details.

Note that your Agreement to Mediate is with Ben Dures, not UEA Law Clinic. UEA Law Clinic simply assists with administration and location. The University of East Anglia excludes liability to the fullest extent possible in law, and you should read the Agreement to Mediate to understand your contract with Ben Dures and the legal consequences of mediation.

Once we have received the Agreement to Mediate, we will make all the arrangements, including arranging for each party to have a pre-mediation chat with the mediator, and you will be able to send us a statement about the case, and a limited number of documents.

It is a condition of using the service that law students are allowed to observe the mediation under strict confidentiality rules. There will never be more than two observers present.

The mediation is free. We do not carry out a means assessment, and take it on trust that at least one of the participants is unable to pay for a mediator. We do invite donations to Norfolk Community Law Service, which provides free legal advice to people who cannot afford it. A donation is voluntary but we suggest a donation of £100 per party for individuals and £200 for a business or public body.

If this sounds like something you wish to try please fill out the attached form and we will normally be in contact within 7 days.

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What sort of things can be mediated?

This is not an exhaustive list but gives you some idea of what we can do:

  • Disputes over housing conditions or disability adaptations to houses
  • Negotiations about the level of personal care support a person should have
  • Disputes about inheritance or among members of a family (but not family law)
  • Contract disputes
  • Consumer issues
  • Neighbour disputes

Our relationship with UEA Law Clinic

Photo of Ben Dures

Ben Dures donates his time to offer free mediation to those who cannot afford it. One of the reasons that he is able to do this because UEA Law Clinic has its own space and is able to offer use of its meeting rooms for the mediation. Your Mediation Agreement will be with Ben Dures only. However, law students will be observing the mediation and supporting the administration of the service as volunteers. The University of East Anglia excludes liability to the fullest extent possible in law.