It is essential that the party representative has reliable information about the legal costs (fees and expenses) incurred to date and the costs likely to be incurred if the case does not settle. These costs are an important part of the settlement equation and must be considered.

The financial benefits of an early settlement must be weighed against the financial cost of proceeding to trial which involves not only the risk of loss but also the risk of costs being awarded against a party. Without reliable information on costs, how can the risks and benefits of settlement be properly weighed?

If counsel is instructed it is essential that he/she ascertain from their instructing solicitor details of the costs to date and the anticipated future costs through to conclusion of the case. Unless the economic realities are understood by all concerned the benefits of settlement cannot be properly appraised and the value of mediation will be lost.

Martin Blake

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