Stuart Chapman

Consistently recommended by Chambers, Legal 500 and the WWL Global Guide, Stuart enjoys working across the UK and internationally, and now remotely: “Stuart was not only the perfect mediator for our dispute but also the perfect mediator to host what was my first virtual mediation.”

Mediation experience

Stuart has conducted more than 430 mediations since he began mediating in 2008, including two recently by Zoom. He has been consistently recommended by the UK and international directories as a leader in the field of mediation. Stuart enjoys mediating across the UK and internationally and has a very broad experience of parties and dispute-types.  He has mediated disputes involving parties from more than 20 jurisdictions.  Full details of Stuart’s experience can be found at www.stuartchapman.com.

Other dispute resolution experience

Stuart’s background is in commercial dispute resolution and litigation. He qualified as a solicitor with Linklaters in 1991, where he worked until moving to Yorkshire in 1994. He was a partner and Head of Litigation in Leeds at Pinsent Masons from 1998 until 2008, when he left practice to become a full-time independent mediator.

As a litigation lawyer Stuart represented a diverse range of clients, national and international, in the UK courts, up to and including the Supreme Court and the Privy Council, in the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in domestic and international arbitrations as well as in mediations and direct negotiations.

Mediation style

Stuart’s approach is essentially aimed at supporting high-quality decision-making. Sometimes this can involve empathic support, moving people into a more logical way of thinking; sometimes it can involve intellectual challenge, helping people to factor in that which they might have good arguments against but to which they should at least attach weight; sometimes equalising the information each party is considering is key. Often all of these aspects are required in a mediation in one room or another in order for the parties to achieve clarity as to how far they should compromise. Informed, logical decision-making within an effective negotiating process almost always leads parties to settlement if that is in their interests, which it usually is. If it isn’t then the mediation should aim at delivering clarity and precision about why.

Client comments on Stuart’s style appear below and in more detail at http://www.stuartchapman.com/testimonials.html.

A mediation observer’s description of Stuart’s style were as follows:

Professional, prepared, thoughtful and attuned to behaviours and different styles. Calm and steady pace maintaining momentum even while waiting for IT issues to be sorted out. Analytical, checking all the time that he had made parties consider all aspects of the risks they might face so they were making their own informed decisions and choices.

 Did not rise to one party’s frustrated and exasperated demeanour in response to style of other solicitor. Very calm but always holding control of the process in a nuanced rather than overt manner. Really tested each party’s assessment of their risk and confirmed to opposite side that they had done so.

 Able to navigate legal technicalities of case as well as the human dynamics.

 They trusted him and so a settlement was achieved which at some stages seemed unlikely”.

Directories

Stuart features in the top bands of both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Legal 500

Stuart Chapman is ‘very bright and personable, understands a case’s dynamics, and doesn’t give up’ and ‘he is able to achieve the resolution of acrimonious disputes and has an impressive handling of clients’. Chapman mediates across the UK and internationally and has a very broad experience of parties and disputes; he has mediated disputes involving parties from over 20 jurisdictions. (2020)

Stuart Chapman is ‘ very impressive in the way in which he handles difficult mediations; he not only understands the legal and factual issues in dispute but what each party needs from the day and he works hard to get a deal done‘. Mediating full-time since 2008, Chapman has mediated disputes involving contracts, pensions, probate, banking and finance, and employment issues. (2019)

Chapman’s ‘preparation for mediations is extremely thorough, as he has an excellent grasp of the details and arguments in cases, which helps throughout the day; he is approachable and professional from the start, and has tremendous patience, tenacity and calm authority, which is exactly what clients need from a good mediator’. (2017)

Stuart Chapman ‘can put less sophisticated clients quickly at ease and gain their confidence in a seemingly hostile environment. He quickly latches on to both sides’ strengths and weaknesses and ably bridges gaps as they appear’. (2016)

Chambers & Partners

Stuart Chapman represents an excellent choice of mediator for a range of commercial and civil disputes. He is well versed in a range of sectors, and is active both domestically and internationally. (2020)

Stuart Chapman operates an impressive mediation practice with expertise covering an array of disputes and jurisdictions. Clients consider him a “fantastic mediator” thanks to his being “hard-working, persistent and a quick spotter of common ground.” (2019)

Stuart Chapman is a popular mediator who impresses with his “innovative solutions to ease the tension, and his evidently measured and impartial professionalism.” He is experienced in property, chancery and commercial disputes, as well as professional negligence cases ranging from small to multimillion-pound claims. One market commentator reports: “He was prepared, professional and able to adapt his style to the dynamics of the dispute and to the personalities involved.” (2018)

Stuart Chapman is heartily endorsed by market sources, who say he has a “calm, collected and explorative” manner and that he “shows thorough knowledge of the law, appreciation of the circumstances and takes the necessary approach to get a good result.” (2017)

Who’s Who Legal: Mediation

Stuart is recommended as a leading mediator in this International Directory. Stuart Chapman is described as “calm, considered and extremely bright” by market sources who praise his “excellent preparation and understanding of the legal issues and personal dynamics of a case”. One respondent effuses: “He never let the momentum slip and was excellent at finding ways around apparent logjams.”

Client comments

Comments relating to performance as a mediator include:

“Telepathic understanding of his clients’ needs”

 “Renowned for his complete mastery of the litigation process”

 “Superb insights into cases – he instinctively knows what we want to do”

 “Impresses with his innovative solutions to ease the tension”

 “Frankly I don’t think there was anything he could have done better”

 “I’d say he’s probably the best mediator I’ve been with – I think Stuart feels the need to add value”

 “He has the perspective, the nous, to realise what it is precisely that clients are looking for”

 “I have actively participated in dozens of mediations and I can honestly say this was the best yet in terms of the process as well as the outcome”

 “Up there with the best of them – he has the key skills required”

 “Without the trust he was able to develop I think we would still have a hearing pending before the Court of Appeal”

“I also wanted to congratulate and thank you.  You played a vital role in reassuring my counsel and client beforehand that it would be an acceptable forum to resolve the dispute, and in helping me deal with my and their IT departments.  You were also very impressive on the day, not only in terms of a mediator’s usual skill set, but also in terms of helping the parties understand and use the facilities that Zoom offers.  I look forward to working with you again in future”. Partner, International law firm, March 2020

Stuart was not only the perfect mediator for our dispute but also the perfect mediator to host what was my first virtual mediation. Once the Coronavirus lockdown was announced, my instinct was to try and cancel or postpone the mediation. With Stuart’s guidance, however – including helpful ‘dry-run’ exercises – the mediation went ahead and a resolution was achieved on that day. As a result of my experience, I would have no hesitation in recommending Stuart (and indeed have done so) for mediations generally, and particularly mediations to be conducted remotely.” Barrister, Temple, London March 2020

“Thanks again for your help yesterday Stuart.  We all enjoyed working with you, and appreciate your efforts in not only constructively dealing with the mediation itself, but guiding us all through the technology! Hopefully we will have the chance to work together in the near future.” Partner, regional law firm, March 2020

 “Stuart was excellent and was very helpful in steering the discussion with a relatively light touch. He took time out to understand the somewhat complex nature of the relationships which was very relevant to the case. We had a very positive experience and we got an outcome that meant the ‘Dispute’ was effectively closed down.” Client, September 2019

“Stuart was excellent. He immediately understood the key points in the dispute and what was required to unlock them. He was also easily able to identify the personal issues were between individuals. He kept the pace up, whilst still allowing the clients to explain their point of view. His hard work resulted in a settlement.” Partner, City law firm. January 2019

“Thoughtful, calm and persistent; brought difficult parties quickly to a settlement.” Partner, Regional law firm Nov 2018

“Really happy with how Stuart managed and led the day. He had some challenges with the Claimant team and also helped manage some impatient people as well. Got a fair result at the end. Would definitely use Stuart again.” Senior Associate, City law firm. July 2018

“Stuart was very good. Cool, calm and with an understanding of the difficulties. Deciding to put the lay parties together for a discussion was a genius move and that cracked the case. Settlement, or certainly not on the terms at the end, would not have been agreed without that.” Solicitor, Regional law firm, April 2018

“Stuart was Excellent. Couldn’t be faulted. Good understanding of issues. Approach was sufficiently forensic to satisfy our clients but we moved into a discussion about figures at an early stage. I had a clear sense that Stuart was sensitive to personalities in each room. I hope we will have a chance to work together again.” Partner, International law firm, February 2018

“With Stuart’s assistance, the parties were able to reach a settlement and my client was very happy with the result. Stuart was firm but fair and he put my client at ease from the start which was needed as he was very nervous. He had a thorough understanding of the case and the points in dispute which I was impressed with, particularly as he had only received a copy of the mediation bundle a couple of days before the mediation.” Solicitor, Regional law firm

“It was a difficult case. I felt that Stuart’s handling of it was very sensitive to the particular circumstances we were dealing with. I was comfortable to rely on Stuart’s judgement as to the best way to handle the mediation perhaps to a greater extent than I have been with other mediators, because I really felt that he’d invested the time to understand the dynamics. He was very good.” Partner, International law firm

“The thing that I think is most important for a mediator is to put both sides under pressure and yet not leave the feeling with either side that he lacks empathy or that he is against them. It’s quite a tricky line and a good mediator, and he was a good mediator, will walk that line successfully.” Barrister, London

“He’s very insightful and very calm and very considered; .I think that sums it up in a nutshell.” Head of Legal/Company Secretary, UK manufacturing plc

“I have had the opportunity to experience, first hand, a significant number of the most highly regarded mediators in this country in operation. Stuart Chapman is, in my view, up there with the best of them. He has the key skills required. He is able to bring his substantial legal experience to bear in quickly understanding complex issues.” Partner, Regional law firm

“I’ve seen a number of mediators now in the last few years, and I thought his manner was very, very good. I’ve seen one or two mediators who get involved a bit too aggressively, he doesn’t, even though he’s a lawyer and you know he knows the law, he guides more than gets involved, which I think is absolutely essential as a mediator. He has got a very, very calm and reflective manner. You know where he’s going with what he says, and he certainly seems to get the respect of the other lawyers and barristers and clients in the room. He certainly did on our side that day. I have to say I went up to him at the end of that one and I told him I thought he’d done a fantastic job on that particular day.” Partner, Forensic Accounting, UK accounting firm

“His management of the dynamics within each of the parties and ability to tease out the objectives and requirements of each was at the heart of the creation of the environment in which the compromise was achieved. I have actively participated in dozens of mediations, with a wide variety of qualification of mediator, and I can honestly say that this was the best yet in terms of the process as well as the outcome.” Partner, Regional law firm

“Very satisfactory. Very pleasant. Hard working. Didn’t over impose himself on the parties, but worked hard to bring the parties together when I think he could see that that work was potentially going to bear fruit. He didn’t give up on it even though at times maybe a lesser person might have been tempted to do so. I think the best thing I can say is that I didn’t know him before this mediation, hadn’t heard of him, and he was nominated by the other side. Having now seen him in action, I’ve mentioned him to other people and I would put him on my short list of people to suggest.” Partner, International law firm

“He has, obviously from his past life, a good understanding of what clients are actually looking for – what amounts to a successful or satisfactory outcome from a client’s point of view. He’s good in that sense at looking for a deal that might be acceptable. Actually having the perspective, the nous to realise what it is precisely that clients are looking for. I think that’s really, really useful. The best I can say really is that I recommend him in cases that I’m involved in and I don’t recommend very many people.” Barrister, Leeds

“I’d say he’s probably the best mediator I’ve been with. [Other mediators] were good but didn’t add as much value, were more of a conduit. I think Stuart feels the need to add value to the message that has been given, so that you feel it’s being given with some critical analysis not just “this is what they say, that’s it”. Partner, Regional law firm

“Frankly I don’t think there was actually anything he could have done better. As a mediator he did his job thoroughly, properly and in a way that personally I wanted. That was the way I think I would like to do it if I could do it.” Partner, Regional law firm

“Excellent in a word – he got on extremely well with the client, he got straight to the point, there was no hanging around. He was there to achieve exactly what we wanted to achieve which was a settlement. He got to work very quickly. He got the parties together. He got the parties talking. He cut through the mist that always flies around in a mediation to get to the substantive issues and to work through those. I’d certainly use him again, without a shadow of a doubt, and I’ve recommended him to others already.” Associate, Regional law firm

“He had the facts at his fingertips, he was able to understand the issues. It was clear that he was able to form his own view without seeking to impose that view on the parties. Whatever he thought, he retained that degree of independence to enable the parties to retain their trust in him. He was able to develop a significant degree of empathy with the respective parties, and the trust he was able to develop assisted in the subsequent resolution. I think without that we’d probably still have a hearing pending before the Court of Appeal.” Partner, Regional law firm

“It was a very difficult dispute with personalities writ large all over it, and there were big emotions going on all over the place – he was very good at keeping those in check. He was quietly competent on the law, so he was able to test our side and indeed the other side quite effectively to make sure that we understood what our position was. He’s basically above all else a good lawyer, he was able to understand what the heck was going on, which helps when you’re mediating because you can wheedle out from people whether or not their position is completely tenable or not.” Partner, Regional law firm

“He identified the issues in dispute quite closely and he wasn’t a passive mediator, he wasn’t afraid to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in, querying people’s positions on matters, dealing with the more complex legal points and testing out positions. He wasn’t a mediator who just turns up, does the mediation and goes away. There was quite a lot of interaction with the parties prior to the mediation, and also thereafter. Having seen him in action I would certainly use him again.” Partner, UK law firm

Professional background

Stuart’s background is in commercial dispute resolution and litigation. He qualified as a solicitor with Linklaters in 1991, where he worked until moving to Yorkshire in 1994. He was a partner and Head of Litigation in Leeds at Pinsent Masons from 1998 until 2008, when he left practice to become a full-time independent mediator.

As a litigation lawyer Stuart represented a diverse range of clients, national and international, in the UK courts, up to and including the Supreme Court and the Privy Council, in the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in domestic and international arbitrations as well as in mediations and direct negotiations.

Training/talks/books/articles

Stuart is enthusiastic about sharing experiences with lawyers and clients about mediation and more recently about remote mediation, including dry-runs and demonstrations. Stuart is happy to deliver training and share thoughts remotely through platforms such as Zoom.

Stuart frequently delivers seminars on various mediation topics to law firms.

Please click on the link at the top of the page to download Stuart’s CV. This provides an overview of his background but is obviously not exhaustive. If there is something you can’t find or an area in which you would like more detailed information please call on the number above or email imoffice@independentmediators.co.uk.

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Areas of practice

A brief overview of areas of practice:

  • Banking / Finance
  • Charities
  • Commercial Agency
  • Commercial contracts
  • Commercial fraud / Fraud
  • Company shareholders
  • Competition
  • Construction / Engineering
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Environmental
  • Franchise
  • Group actions
  • Insolvency
  • I.T.
  • Insurance / reinsurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • International
  • Local and national government
  • Partnerships
  • Pensions
  • Probate / Trusts / Estates
  • Product Liability
  • Professional negligence
  • Property
  • Sport
  • Transport / logistics

Professional memberships

  • CMC Registered Mediator