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Barrister takes a break to launch mediation business

14th November 2014

A barrister with more than 20 years’ experience as a Senior Crown Prosecutor is
putting people first by launching a new business which promotes the resolution of disputes through professional mediation.

Vanessa Crossley has taken a career break from the Crown Prosecution Service

(CPS) to set up Matrix Mediation Consultants Ltd, a “virtual tenant” at The Deep Business Centre in Hull.

The move was inspired by Vanessa’s commitment to addressing corporate and domestic disputes through effective assisted dispute resolution. The challenge is to raise awareness of mediation as an appropriate option for settling disputes, including in the corporate world. 

Vanessa, who became a barrister in 1991 and a Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1994, has worked on cases involving fraud and theft against companies and organisations, and prosecutions arising from child abuse, all forms of domestic violence and proceedings involving bereaved families.

She said: “The longer you serve in the CPS the more you have to deal with diverse types of cases. The CPS is very aware of the needs of victims, witnesses and bereaved families and it strives to address their concerns properly.

“I set up Matrix Mediation Consultants because the personal side of the law is my greatest interest. It is a competitive area but I feel I have something to offer given my training, background and professional skills, supported by the facilities and the flexibility available at The Deep.

“Whatever the nature of a case, it becomes the predominant concern of the people involved. It is very important to remember that, to engage with the people involved and to note their questions, concerns and genuine fears. Ultimately, they look to you to achieve a successful outcome.”

Changes to mediation procedures have seen the introduction of a mandatory assessment to decide whether family cases are suitable for mediation. But as the need for mediation increases, the availability of legal aid to provide mediation services is greatly reduced.

Vanessa said: “There is a need for a premier mediation service to address this
situation, and that is what I am providing.

“Mediation is prompt, private, professional and preferable. If the matter goes through the courts, a settlement is imposed. Mediation gives the participants greater control and enables them to reach their own settlement by taking them through a realistic exploration of the options.

“On the corporate side, the commercial realities will ultimately determine whether a settlement can be reached. The scale of a dispute can vary enormously and the key to getting a settlement in a business environment is recognising when both parties are ready and willing to resolve the dispute.

“Some people, particularly in the corporate sector, see mediation as a financial risk but there is no risk, only benefits. Even if a solution is not reached it can only count in your favour in future proceedings. You will receive credit for having tried mediation and, by narrowing the issues, you will have minimised your side’s legal costs.”

Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep, said: “We created our ‘virtual tenancies’ with businesses such as Matrix Mediation Consultants in mind.

“Vanessa doesn’t need a permanent office but she does need professional
administrative support and she also needs occasional use of meeting rooms,
sometimes for the most private and sensitive discussions. We provide all of that to enable Vanessa to concentrate on launching the new business.”

For further information contact the Matrix mediation team at
The Deep Business Centre on 01482 481130, e-mail
matrixmcltd@inbox.com

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