Paul Coleman and I spent a couple of hours with a stand down on the ground floor of the Grand Union Studios in Ladbroke Grove this week, speaking to our fellow tenants all about what LawBite has to offer - how we are with you on your journey from idea to ideal - and like a London bus, you can hop on at any time during that journey and we can help.

 

Anyway, I was speaking to Clive Rich about what we had done, and it hit me that in a venue full of young entrepreneurs, kitted out in nice jeans and trendy shirts and rather nice shoes - especially those purchased from the fine shoe maker on the first floor - we shouldn't have been suited and booted.

 

This reminded me, as conversations do, of a mediation I did on the south coast.  It was a dispute over a domestic extension and conservatory, and for a week or two before the mediation the builder was not replying to any approach from me, from the ADR provider or from the claimant's lawyer.  I had tried phoning him maybe a dozen times, and as I arrived at my modest hotel the night before, nobody knew if he was even going to turn up.

 

Then I had a thought.  Why not phone at around 9pm - he would be off guard, not expecting a call from a mediator, and would answer. Worth a go.

 

I called at 9pm.  The tension was building.  It rang.  It rang again.  It rang once more and then, wow, he answered!

 

I explained who I was and as it turned out he was a very nice man who was worried about what to wear at the mediation.  Might sound silly to some, but he is a builder, he had a plastering job to do after the mediation (which put me on notice that time really would be limited) and he did not know if it was possible to turn up in his work clothes.

 

I was able to put him at ease.  He thought I would be "a posh type from London in a monocle".  

 

"Well" I said, "for starters mate I'm a Scouser."  I explained that I had only travelled down in a suit and I would have to wear it the next day, but I would make sure my waistcoat, monocle, bow tie and bowler hat were left in the hotel and come wearing nothing but my everyday suit and smile.

 

You could sense the relief over the phone.  He thanked me, apologised for not answering calls and promised he would be there next morning at 8.30am.

 

He was, he wore steel toe boots and shorts and a t-shirt reeking of turps,  covered in mastic and no more nails and we mediated and settled three hours later.

 

So going back to Grand Union Studios, apologies to my contemporaries - I will drop the suit in future, and we can discuss the law and mediation or just chew the cud over a coffee and croissant in the excellent Union Cafe.

Founder of Gregory Hunt Mediation providing Ombudsman Services and Commercial Mediation.