Meet the Mediator with Michel Kallipetis QC

Our ‘Meet the  Mediator’ feature continues with Michel Kallipetis QC and will feature a different mediator in each issue. Here the mediators share suggestions on maximising potential for reaching a settlement (in their opinion), strategies they find useful in breaking a deadlock, a mediation they will always remember and some of the changes they have witnessed in the mediation landscape during their time practising in the field.

How does your background as a barrister benefit your work as a mediator?

It is of enormous help. I was fortunate to have a broad practice covering general commercial, professional negligence and employment. I sat as a deputy High Court Judge in QB, Chancery and the TCC for fifteen years which gave me an even broader experience of work.

What led you to move into mediation?

Too often as a barrister or as judge, one could see what solution would be best for the parties but which the court was unable to give.

What types of cases have you been involved in as a mediator?

Every conceivable type of civil and commercial dispute save divorce.

What are one or two of the mediator techniques that you find particularly useful in trying to break deadlock?

Humour. Speaking directly to the clients. Making sure that the parties realise precisely why they are not reaching agreement and making sure that they really understand three things:

  1. Why they are not settling;
  2. The financial consequences; and
  3. The real ‘bottom/top line’ of each side.

Is there a mediation that you will always remember? What difficulties or examples of excellence did it possess and how did you learn from these?

There are several which remain engraved upon my memory. Some sad, some joyous, others astonishing. I have often thought that I should collect them in the ‘Secret Mediator’, but, even anonymised, it would be too intrusive for the parties even if no-one else could recognise them. In general, those that remain are those where the relief and satisfaction at having achieved settlement is mutual and reflected in a genuine mutual expression of thanks. I do not necessarily subscribe to the often quoted “if there is a settlement both sides will be unhappy”; my ideal is to help the parties to a situation where everyone recognises that they have achieved a benefit.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for participants on how to maximise the potential for reaching settlement?

Patience, humour and never give up.


What's the best part of your job?

Seeing the relief in the faces of those who have settled, but more importantly, in the faces of their family.


What changes have you seen in the field in the time you have been practising as a mediator? Have these changed how you mediate?

More awareness by the legal profession of the benefits of a mediated settlement for their clients and this results in a more pragmatic and helpful approach from the lawyers.

When you are not mediating what do you like to do?

Opera, theatre, reading and cooking.

All Mediators listed in top tiers of Legal 500 2024