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Mediation has long been considered a more effective way of resolving disputes, potentially avoiding the costs and delay involved in of court proceedings. Whilst traditionally Mediation sessions involve a qualified mediator helping to resolve disputes in an office or meeting room, or on site, the coronavirus pandemic has made that impossible.
However Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors have not let the current restrictions deter them from delivering exceptional service to their clients. The Company continues to lead the way in alternative dispute resolution and has embraced the latest legal tech, the Consumer Code for Online Dispute Resolution (CCODR) platform, to resolve a client dispute using remote mediation and to deliver their legal services seamlessly and without interruption.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin is the first Northern Ireland law firm to use the CCODR platform, which is also the only online dispute resolution industry-specific technological platform which is partnered with a Consumer Code. Launched in May this year, the CCODR platform features include end to end encryption, a full suite of case management tools, encrypted uploading and file sharing and more, to enable alternative dispute practitioners at Cleaver Fulton Rankin to work whilst practicing social distancing.
Lisa Boyd, Director in the Dispute Resolution department at Cleaver Fulton Rankin commented: “Mediation traditionally draws all the parties together into one space to attempt to resolve disputes without the need to refer to court or some other form of tribunal. We have all quickly become accustomed to using new technology to communicate, so it is only logical that the same applies to deliver our legal services. All parties involved in our first online mediation, and the first in Northern Ireland on this particular platform, were comfortable with the process. The system is very user friendly, which led to a constructive, collaborative and successful experience. I anticipate we will grow our use of online mediation alongside traditional alternative dispute resolution methods even with the easing of restrictions.”
Jonathan Forrester, Managing Director added: “Legal Tech is at the heart of our Company and it has, undoubtedly, enabled us to stream line our services and grow our business. Legal Tech enables our Company to compete with larger firms and deliver our legal services on time and on budget. Being the first to use the CCODR platform is one of many strategically important initiatives we have been involved in recently. We have ensured that all of our team has the ability to work remotely anytime, anywhere and developed e-playbooks for our transactional services. We are also the only law firm in Northern Ireland to offer client businesses a range of self-paced eLearning courses delivered through Cleaver Fulton Rankinʼs Learning Management System.”
Director at the CCODR and Director and Adjudicator at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Aaron Moore, said: Technology plays a key role at Cleaver Fulton Rankin and as a Director at CCODR I was very pleased to see my company be the first to use the platform in Northern Ireland. Mediation is nearly always a cheaper process than litigating a dispute in court, and remote mediation naturally reduces the costs further, given there are no travel costs or room hire costs.
With many of their solicitors fully qualified mediators at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, the Company advocates and is a major proponent of mediation and actively ensures that its clients understand that the mediation process can not only provide alternative solutions to disputes but can also greatly reduce the costs of litigation.
The Company also assisted in the design of the International Commercial Law & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) course at Ulster University. The first of its kind in the Island of Ireland, this course enables students to graduate with both a Masters in law as well as becoming a fully accredited mediator.