Mediation with James Thorn

Posted on January 22nd, 2024 in News.

Experienced Solicitor James Thorn has become the only Island based lawyer to ever qualify as a dual Family Law and Civil and Commercial mediator. 

He attended the prestigious London School of Mediation in March 2023 alongside Solicitors and Barristers from all around the UK and as far afield as Italy, Dubai and Greece, and gained a rare 100% mark in the written exam. 

James has been dealing with Family Law, Civil litigation and Employment law on the Isle of Wight since 1996. Having qualified as a Solicitor in 1999, he gained a strong following which led him to start his own firm in 2010, which then merged with Eldridges in 2014. 

Although he regularly attends Court and has dealt with hearings at all levels locally and on the mainland, he has always been keen on trying to avoid unnecessary conflict within his cases and is mindful of the extent to which disputes can spiral out of control in terms of time, costs and stress. This is particularly noticeable now, as the Court system is under great pressure and there are much longer waits for hearings and for cases to reach their final stage.

James has always been a keen supporter of dispute resolution. With that in mind, he qualified as a Family Law Mediator in 2010 via Resolution, and has successfully mediated in many Island-based separation and divorce cases. Although always intending to then qualify as a civil and commercial mediator, those plans were put on hold by Covid-19 but he took the intensive course earlier this year and now looks to offer a service unique on the Island.

He says, “Mediation offers a very flexible, quick opportunity for parties to resolve their disputes at an early stage before costs spiral out of control. A 2021 survey of all mediators showed that 93% of civil and commercial mediation cases, settled by agreement within the first session. For Family cases, mediation is the best way of remaining amicable with an ex-partner and ensuring that arrangements for children and finances can be arrived at with minimal expense and bad feeling”. 

Mediation involves both parties in a dispute appointing a qualified independent expert to assist with facilitating discussions and negotiations, using a number of different techniques in order to direct the process. The parties, however, remain in control of the process and make all decisions. James adds, “My experience of Court cases over the years is that the vast majority of them end up settling before the final Court hearing, but often at huge cost to the parties and only after substantial delay and wait. The effect of Covid19 on the Court system is very clear to see, and quite often the parties in a dispute can run up substantial legal costs which can sometimes then become a hindrance to settlement discussions. When cases are settled within Court proceedings, I think everyone involved in the case will always look back and wonder whether it could, or should, have been settled earlier. In most cases, there is always an opportunity to reach a common sense agreement at an earlier stage”.

With substantial experience in the relevant areas of the law, James is now looking to take mediation referrals from the Island and further afield. For all information please see our Family Mediation and Commercial Mediation pages, or please feel free to contact James directly

Newport Office

36 St James Street, Newport, PO30 1LF

01983 524741

01983 556088

Freshwater Office

Avenue House, Avenue Road, Freshwater, PO40 9UZ

01983 752492

01983 754247