Sir Cliff Richard has been recently awarded £210,000 in damages against the BBC, a hefty sum no doubt. But, what were the legal costs incurred in bringing this privacy case? Sir Cliff's lawyer indicated, following the judgement that they vastly outweighed the amount awarded with Gloria Hunniford saying on BBC Radio 4 that the legal fees totalled a staggering £4 million! 

In this instance, a high profile case was most likely what Cliff Richard wanted and was happy to pay for - an opportunity to continue to repair his reputation in the eyes of the public following historical allegations of sexual misconduct from which he was completely exonerated. 

However, in most instances, such a large difference between legal fees and outcome is not desirable, certainly in a commercial setting. But there is another way, and it has been around for a while. 

Mediation is demonstrably less expensive than litigation and offers a whole raft of other, well-known benefits. One of these is confidentiality. Unlike with Sir Cliff, media and public attention is part of the remedy, but, there are many occasions where individuals and organisations do not wish to wash their dirty laundry in public. The whole mediation process is confidential (even the fact it is taking place at all), giving both sides the opportunity to have a frank, open and difficult discussion about issues they would be uncomfortable doing in a courtroom and on public record. 

No doubt, there is a time and a place to litigate. But, for commercial disputes, mediation is proven to be a great way to tackle sensitive, painful and complex disputes. 

For help with your commercial disputes, contact the CEDR team at adr@cedr.com or 020 7536 6060 for confidential advice in setting up a mediation.