To contact or appoint Dorcas Crawford, call CEDR on +44 (0)207 536 6060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Her efforts to achieve a resolution were quite heroic. She saw possibilities where we only saw hopelessness.” - Client Feedback
Dorcas Crawford is the Senior Partner at Edwards & Co since 1987. She specialised in litigation for most of her career, culminating in representing 5,000 police officers in a Group action for psychiatric injury. The experience of that litigation, Northern Ireland’s longest running civil action (102 court days), made her re-evaluate the whole area of dispute resolution and, in doing so, she pursued a longstanding interest in mediation. Dorcas completed CEDR’s Mediation Skills Training Course 2008 and was invited to be one of the founding members of CEDR Ireland’s Mediation Practice Group in 2011.
Dorcas set up a Working group in Belfast (with several senior members of the Judiciary and CEDR) in 2009 with the aim of raising the profile of mediation in Northern Ireland and setting up a mediation scheme for Court referrals. The group has successfully organised several major events for both the business community and the legal profession, with high profile speakers including Lord Woolf. The events were extremely well attended by all the senior members of the N.I. Judiciary. Dorcas continues this work with regular seminars and presentations on the benefits of mediation.
In 2013 Dorcas participated in the CEDR specialist Panel set up to consider the use of mediation in Public Inquiries because of her wide experience in Public Inquiries in Northern Ireland. The Panel prepared submissions which formed part of a paper presented by Dr Karl Mackie to Government.
(Non-Neutral work in italics)
Banking & Finance
- Assisted in a high value Banking dispute regarding interest swaps and penalty interest claims.
Construction & Engineering
- Mediator in a court-referred building dispute in the south of England between a customer and a builder involving considerable personal distress and difficult practical issues. The builder’s reputation was at stake and it was vital for him to avoid press coverage in a small town. On the other side the customers were aggrieved and needed a solution. The matter was resolved in half a day with practical solutions to the satisfaction of both parties.
Employment & Workplace
- Dispute between postal service provider and a sub-postmaster arising out of the use of the Horizon software system.
- Mediator in a £225,000 claim for professional negligence against a solicitor in a conveyancing matter involving a private client and the Professional Indemnity insurers, as well as the solicitor against whom the allegation of negligence was made. Whilst there were technical issues of causation involved, the most difficult aspect of this dispute was managing the feelings and emotions of an elderly party who felt personally aggrieved. No settlement was achieved on the day but the parties expressed their satisfaction that issues had been aired and narrowed which allowed subsequent progress to be made.
- Mediator in a long-running dispute for adverse possession between a former priest and the Diocese of Down & Connor – a high profile case referred by the Chancery Court in Belfast. This was a particularly emotionally charged case where relations had long since broken down and the stakes of a five day trial with press interest were extremely high. A two day mediation resulted in a resolution to the satisfaction of all the parties.
- Mediator in a court-referred mediation in the north of England involving a dispute over the lease of hotel premises and a claim for forfeiture - an £85 000 claim which resolved in half a day. The dispute involved two family businesses and a long-running feud where the risks of costs were enormous but feelings ran deep and had to be overcome.
- Mediator in a tax dispute between an individual tax payer and HMRC - the first of its kind in N.I. – several pre-mediation meetings and a full day’s mediation, with the parties meeting several days after to finalise an agreement.
Dorcas believes that contact with the parties prior to the mediation is a vital part of the process and she likes to talk to each party before the mediation takes place to develop a rapport and ensure all concerned understand what is going on. She finds that this works well to enable the parties to ‘hit the ground running’ on the day of the mediation.
During the mediation itself Dorcas adopts an open and relaxed manner but will also be firm and direct when the situation requires it and she will ensure the parties are guided away from wasting valuable time.
- “Her efforts to achieve a resolution were quite heroic. She saw possibilities where we only saw hopelessness.”
- “Great energy and personal warmth.”
- “A lively, energetic and engaging style helped motivate parties throughout.”
- “…sensitive to parties, their needs and position."
- “Ms Crawford was well organised and reassuring to those unfamiliar with the situation.”
- “I was particularly struck by her continual and beneficial eye contact with the Client. The Client felt confident in the good faith of the mediator throughout.”
- “The thorny issues were discussed by the mediator in terms which encouraged agreement and in a positive and purposeful way.”
- “The mediator's patience and persistence were considerable but most of all the spirit of the mediator led to an environment where agreement was not just possible but desirable for the parties.”
- “Dorcas is a natural mediator, very at ease with people and at making people feel they can trust her. I was very impressed with her during the pre-meetings, in the way she grasped the technicalities and the details of the HMRC case, and during the mediation day itself. One of the HMRC team was extremely cynical about mediation yet was a convert at the end of the day.”
Dorcas attended Queen’s University of Belfast where she was awarded 2:1 single honours LLB. She also attended the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Belfast and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She has spent several periods abroad, in South Africa and Sri Lanka with charity projects teaching English.
Dorcas is a member of several professional organisations and committees including the County Court Rules Committee and CEDR. She has served on the Board of Governors of an Integrated Primary School for some years, assisting the Board with legal issues and using her mediation skills to advise and facilitate the informal resolution of matters arising in the school context.
Dorcas has lectured at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies on High Court Procedure and to colleagues as part of the Law Society CPD programme. In addition to this she regularly provides presentations and training seminars for clients.
Updated: March 2016