Mock mediation provides food for thought

An agricultural mock mediation drew in a crowd of over 70 delegates, mostly made up of farmers and land agents, who braved the snow to attend an agricultural based interactive “drama” in Peterborough. 

Specialists from organisers, Roythornes Solicitors, took part in a mediation hosted by Paul Pridmore of Berrys land agents, a trained mediator. 

The story centred on a brother and sister (Ben and Lisa) resolving a dispute over two landlocked fields which may or may not have belonged to the sister.  Mediator Paul gave a summary of what he was trying to achieve throughout and questioned the main characters, who improvised depending on the direction of the mediation.

Commentary on the proceedings was given by legal heavyweight Alan Plummer, asking the audience questions as the plot unfolded.  The event finished with short presentations on the key aspects of the case, with learning points to help delegates going forward.

Head of Agriculture, Julie Robinson said: “Talking about succession can be incredibly challenging for farming families, especially where there are non-farming children involved. In our experience, open and early discussions are crucial to ensuring a smooth transition.

Our mock mediation highlighted the kind of problems that can arise where this does not happen and where specialist advice is not taken. It is, for example, critical to make sure that any partnership and shareholder agreements are aligned with wills, and to consider the tax implications of what is planned. With more than 80 years' experience working for farmers and estate owners, Roythornes is well placed to advise in the round on farm succession.”

The event was followed by networking, themed around the issues raised.