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Evidence, My Boy, Evidence

As a Civil Litigator you quickly learn that most cases turn on evidence, not on an interesting point of law. During our legal training the lecturers and indeed the legal press focus on the knife edge cases that change the law – because it’s of more interest to them and easier to lecture on and may have wider application. Of course, knowing the law is essential when assessing the foundations of your advice. However, in the vast majority of cases it is the strength or weakness of the evidence that will decide the outcome.

So when preparing your case, the stronger your evidence then the stronger your negotiating position and better the outcome you can achieve.

This also applies to Mediations. I have been amazed at how poorly the parties have been prepared when they attend for some of the Mediations I have been involved with. For example, when value of properties were the main point in agreeing the amount in dispute and the parties have not had a valuation done. Or when one party is advancing an argument, but does not have with them (even if they have not shared before-hand) evidence to support their case – when that should have been easy to obtain. For the chances of settlement to be maximised, both parties need to be able to see the dispute from the other’s point pf view – thus to understand what they are saying. If you have and can share good supporting evidence then this will maximise the chances of achieving this and of being able to reach a settlement at your Mediation – or indeed of your case in any circumstance.

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