One of the most sought-after mediators in the UK with a settlement success rate well above the industry average, Alistair Pye has been consistently recognised as a leading mediator by both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners legal directories since 2013. His straight-talking, imaginative style has led to resolution across all types of civil and commercial disputes, from modest claims to complex multi-party cases of up to £35 million in value.
Mediation Style and Approach
Alistair is known for his relaxed, approachable manner alongside a first-rate analytical mind honed over 30 years as a litigation lawyer at the highest levels. These attributes, combined with meticulous preparation, enable him to win the trust and confidence of the participants right at the start of the mediation process.
As a skilled negotiator throughout his legal career, Alistair understands the psychology of conflict, and of its resolution, and is able to quickly identify both barriers to and opportunities for advancing the negotiation. Once the framework of the dispute has been digested and understood in the opening sessions, for Alistair the process then becomes almost intuitive.
Never afraid to reality test through tough probing questions, whilst remaining tuned in to the sensitivities of the participants, Alistair is able to offer the participants a new perspective on their dispute which is focused firmly on their wider interests. He is highly adaptable in his approach, based on the dynamics at play in each room, and participants appreciate his straight talking, energy and tenacity.
If there is no settlement on the day, Alistair is always keen to continue working with the participants over the days following the mediation, so that the momentum towards settlement is not lost and resolution achieved.
Why Choose Alistair As Your Mediator?
• Extensive experience at a senior level – Alistair successfully mediates 6-8 cases per month, from small yet seemingly entrenched neighbour disputes, to high-profile, multimillion-pound contract cases between PLCs
• Wide-ranging legal practice – 30 years experience as a commercial litigation solicitor, solicitor-advocate and barrister, Alistair’s extensive legal experience has taught him that almost any dispute can be resolved through mediation
• Easy to work with – One of Alistair’s defining characteristics as a mediator and barrister is user-friendliness and ability to win the trust and confidence of solicitors and clients alike
• Personable, direct and tenacious – Alistair has an intuitive and assured mastery of the mediation process, with an easy manner that belies his pragmatic, commercial and assertive approach
• Available to work anywhere – Based in near Bath, Alistair travels nationally and internationally for mediation work with a high proportion in London
• Flexible – Alistair takes a long term view of fees for his appointment and is happy to agree rates to suit all pockets
“While my approach is friendly and informal, I never shy away from reality-testing and tough questions where appropriate. I believe that a mediator trades on his integrity and honesty in encouraging disputants to explore their real interests, as distinct from their legal positions. Even where settlement is not achievable on the day, it is my aim to ensure that all concerned leave the mediation with a clear understanding of what separates them.”
THE GUIDES SAY:
Chambers & Partners 2018
Alistair Pye is a mediator with considerable experience in construction and property-related disputes. Sources admire his “friendly and intelligent” manner, with one adding: “Alistair is a fantastic mediator, who gets to grips with the issues in dispute quickly, will challenge the parties and will bring them back together to achieve a settlement.”
Legal 500 2017
Undertaking 71 mediations in 2016, Alistair Pye is “not slow to roll his sleeves up and get straight into the issues at the heart of the matter; he is straight talking, and his approach is key in difficult mediations where emotional issues hold the parties back from resolution”.
Chambers & Partners 2017
Alistair Pye is a mediator with considerable experience in construction and property related disputes. He wins praise for his "tenacious but controlled style that keeps parties focused on the main issues and gets them to reach a pragmatic solution." He has additional experience in professional negligence and insurance matters.
Legal 500 2016
The "approachable and sympathetic" Alistair Pye is "well read on cases", and is "particularly good at cutting through early posturing and getting parties to focus on the purely commercial aspects of a claim."
Chambers & Partners 2016
Alistair Pye attracts praise from market sources for being "extremely thorough in preparation, coming to mediations knowing the issues and understanding them." Sources also appreciate his flexible approach to mediation, noting that he is "pretty tough and resilient when needed, but also friendly, which clients appreciate." He undertakes a range of mediation work, ably handling commercial, employment and property disputes.
Legal 500 2015
Alistair Pye uses his "calm and balanced approach to inspire confidence from the outset". Clients praise his "professionalism and commitment to finding solutions", "meticulous preparation", “objectivity" and "ability to see the big picture".
Chambers & Partners 2015
Described as "extremely energetic, proactive, open and honest with clients regarding their aims and expectations". Sources praise his ability to "quickly establish the bottom and top lines so we can move on. Often we can't see the wood for the trees - Alistair can rise above that and be objective.”
Legal 500 2014
Recognised as a Band 2 Leading Mediator, Alistair Pye has "an excellent grasp of the law and technical issues that often arise", some of which will stem from his previous career as a construction lawyer. Clients like his "refreshingly direct and clear approach", whereby he "steers the parties towards their objectives without prevarication.”
Chambers & Partners 2014
Alistair Pye is "very easy-going, very affable, and very approachable". Solicitors appreciate his "business-like" manner and that he "listens to what people have to say". Sources say: "He adopts an informal approach to the parties. He identifies the issues accurately and focuses on what can be achieved".
Chambers & Partners 2013
Sources say Alistair Pye's "core strengths" include "his focus on wider interests rather than legal issues, his tenacity and his ability to get straight to the heart of the matter." A new entrant, sources say: "He combines a relaxed, good-humoured manner with straight talking and an exceptionally sharp analytical brain which instantly builds trust and rapport with the decision makers."
THE LAWYERS SAY:
"Alistair Pye is a magician: an intractable dispute, resolved, with smiles and handshakes. His decisions as to how the parties could begin - and maintain - a dialogue were pitch perfect."
Barrister representing a party in an exceptionally acrimonious neighbour / harassment / property dispute
“Alistair Pye is a very skilled operator. I was seriously impressed with his style. Whilst he was sympathetic to the participants, he was not prepared to put up with prevarication and posturing. Because of his personality, he was able to inculcate a sense of realism amongst the participants and, as a result, was able to drive forward a settlement to a problem that appeared, on more than one occasion, intractable. All in all, a privilege to watch."
Tim Concannon, Barrister
Areas of Expertise:
Alistair mediates all types of civil and commercial dispute, including:
• Agricultural disputes
• Banking and financial services
• Boundary and neighbour disputes
• Clinical negligence
• Commercial agency
• Commercial contracts
• Commercial property
• Community conflicts
• Company and shareholder disputes
• Construction and engineering
• Costs disputes
• Duress and undue influence
• Employer’s liability
• Fraud, deceit and conversion
• Immigration Disputes
• Inheritance and probate
• Insurance (including coverage)
• Intellectual property
• IT and software disputes
• Land and property claims (all types)
• Landlord & Tenant (commercial and residential)
• Partnership disputes
• Pensions and life insurance
• Personal injury
• Professional liability (all professions)
• Public Law disputes
• Restitution and unjust enrichment
• Road traffic accidents
• Trespass and nuisance
Examples of recent cases:
• One of the largest and most complex mediations in recent years: a multi-party, multi-million pound engineering dispute arising from a landslip, co-mediated over three days by Alistair and one of the most acclaimed mediators in the UK. Settled on detailed terms.
• £1.3 million claim by liquidator of a company to reverse transactions by which company assets were paid away to connected individuals or companies shortly before creditors voluntary winding up, on the basis of preferences, transactions at an undervalue, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty. Settled.
• A difficult three party mediation of a £1 million insurance dispute arising from a claim by the widow of a former managing director who had a stroke and died before medical underwriting information was passed to the provider of Death In Service Benefit. Settled.
• A complex 4 party, £1 million construction dispute arising from the lease of a hotel to a major hotel chain with allegations of defective refurbishment and rebranding works. Settled on detailed terms.
• £750,000 long running dispute between owners of a manor house and neighbours concerning numerous land issues. Settled on detailed terms.
• £1 million dispute over a distribution agreement for the supply of items for sale in airline magazines. Settled.
• Dispute between household name bank and senior employee concerning clawback of compensation package on termination of employment. Settled by agreeing a financial settlement with detailed terms.
• £20 million dispute between two household name PLCs, arising under a distribution agreement. Not settled but issued narrowed.
• Final account dispute on a large residential development. Settled by agreeing final figure following additions and deductions.
• Complex multi-party construction dispute between developer, owner of retained land and vendor of development land. Settled by detailed terms and compensation payment.
• Dispute over rent due under a series of commercial leases. Settled by detailed terms.
• Dispute between GP practice partners. Settled by compensation payment to outgoing partner.
• Solicitors’ negligence claim relating to failings in completing a charge over a property, resulting in repossession. Settled by compensation payment.
• Dispute between Catholic diocese and a developer over development of a presbytery. Settled by agreeing detailed terms.
Examples of feedback:
“We were very pleased with the service from Clerksrooom and Mr Pye in particular. Many thanks."
Partner following a successful mediation of partnership dispute, March 2018
“Excellent. Well prepared. Succinct. Practical. Presented the process and positions well to client. Plenary sessions well guided.”
Partner following settlement of construction dispute, January 2018
“Approachable with excellent communication skills. He succeeded in putting our client, who was feeling nervous, at ease.”
Partner following settlement of agricultural / inheritance dispute, November 2017
“Thank you for all your efforts in resolving the mediation yesterday. I am glad the claim settled for the sake of both parties and you were instrumental in making that happen. I look forward to the next mediation with you.”
Partner following settlement of a commercial agency dispute, October 2017
“Mediator was fantastic. Really read the situation and the parties well and came up with the best way to reach settlement.”
Partner following settlement of dispute concerning damage to a luxury apartment by tenant, June 2017
“I just wanted to thank you for all your mediation skills in helping the parties to achieve a settlement. Thank you very much.”
Partner representing party to mediation of a breach of warranty claim in a company SPA, July 2017
“I thought Alistair was excellent and will certainly propose him for mediation again in the future and hopefully have a chance to instruct him.”
Partner following on-site mediation of boundary dispute, June 2017
“Thank you for your monumental efforts today, much appreciated by my client, counsel and myself. I am sure that it would not have settled without your input. I have no hesitation in recommending you and you are welcome to use that endorsement as you wish.”
Partner following settlement of an inheritance dispute, January 2017
“Very many thanks for all of your own efforts and expertise. I know that we had a few robust conversations in our room, but I imagine that those in the other room were far more challenging for you, and we are extremely grateful for all of your input in helping to deliver the deal.”
Partner following settlement of a dispute concerning an incentive agreement arising from sale of shares, November 2016
“Alistair’s skills as a mediator helped settle this farming family dispute which had been rumbling for 46 years. It was a complex case with many holes in the evidence but I am thrilled that it settled.”
Partner following settlement of exceptionally acrimonious agricultural / land dispute, August 2016
“Alistair was excellent on this case and really helped to move things along as we only had limited time.”
Partner following settlement of agricultural dispute relating to contamination of crops, August 2016
“Alistair Pye was well versed on the issues before turning up and had a good grasp of what the obstacles were and was integral in overcoming them quickly – to achieve a settlement.”
Partner following settlement of a private mortgage / loan dispute, January 2016
"Very impressed with Mr Pye. He quickly got a good grasp of the issues but remained completely neutral throughout the whole process. This was a difficult and emotive matter and he reacted to that, ensuring that the appropriate method of mediation was used at all times".
Partner representing one of the parties in an inheritance and property dispute, November 2015.
"Excellent - dealt fairly and appropriately with a very complicated and fractious dispute and did a fantastic job in securing a settlement. He was just what we needed and, importantly secured the claimant's trust".
Associate representing one of the parties in an exceptionally complex, multi-party construction dispute, October 2015.
"Alistair had an excellent approach towards my client and spoke persuasively and straightforwardly... We would certainly use him again".
Partner representing one of the parties in a commercial dispute, September 2015.
"Alistair is my go-to mediator for all disputes".
Solicitor representing one of the parties in a commercial dispute, September 2015.
“Alistair is one of my favourite mediators because he always cuts to the chase as soon as possible. Discussions beforehand are always focused and constructive, but still challenging. On the day, my client attended with no legal advisor and said Alistair's supportive but balanced input made the whole process so much easier. The outcome we achieved was way beyond what we had hoped for, and the other party was very happy too. Dialogue was re-established between the parties so hopefully any future issues can be nipped in the bud. Don't you just love mediation??!!!” Partner acting in a neighbour dispute, April 2015.
"Alistair was excellent - he was fair and calm throughout. He asked difficult questions and challenged the parties but in a non aggressive way. His tactic of 2 offers then a final offer really focused everyone and meant that we all moved quickly to focus on the settlement and not to spend hours discussing facts that would never be agreed."
Partner acting for widow in insurance claim for death in service benefit, March 2015.
“Daunting boundary dispute with difficult personalities involved. Alistair was very good at judging when to advise parties to back off and when to give them a clear talking to.”
Partner acting in complex land dispute, March 2015.
“Alistair Pye – calm, credible, friendly, focussed and sufficiently assertive to get the deal done. Solicitor with 25 + years Civil Lit experience. Heavy weight. Suitable for high value (£100k plus) mediations where senior people are involved.”
Partner recommending Alistair to colleagues following mediation, December 2014.
"Thank you Alistair. From a longstanding stalemate and with both parties position seemingly firmly entrenched, in challenging circumstances the work you provided in unlocking the dispute was excellent. We’d certainly have no hesitation in recommending your appointment in the future."
Managing Director of large cleaning supplies company, October 2014.
"Excellent. The dispute would not have settled without the efforts of the mediator." Partner representing company in commercial dispute, September 2014.
“Alistair was excellent and triggered settlement and moved the parties by managing them well. Top class performance in a difficult dispute.”
Partner representing client in a commercial dispute, August 2014.
“This was our third Mediation with Alistair Pye – and like good wine he just gets better with age!”
Consultant representing party to land dispute, July 2014.
“I would very much like to thank Alistair for his commitment, hard work, and the excellent result I think he achieved for everyone so far as I am concerned. It was not an easy mediation to have taken on given the number of parties and the initially entrenched positions taken - Alistair saw it through to the end - his experience and tact was clearly apparent to me and I am sure to everyone else. Thank you Alistair!”
Partner representing one of the parties in a highly sensitive mediation of a multi-party defamation dispute, June 2014.
“Approachable, commercial and involved. Did an excellent job.”
Partner commenting after mediation of an IP dispute, March 2014.
“Excellent as usual.”
Solicitor commenting after successful mediation of a commercial dispute, March 2014.
“Many thanks for your excellent work on Wednesday which I really do think motivated the finish line being crossed…I come across a number of mediators in different areas from time to time, and I have to say that I found your approach very impressive – not so much the order of events (plenary, one-on-ones, sealed bids etc) which tend to feature in many mediations, but the bits in between. We could all have spent all day regurgitating the last 10 years of history between the clients, but you were able to firmly focus minds on the object of the exercise – trying to get a deal cut.”
Principal of niche IP practice referring to the mediation of an IP/confidentiality dispute, February 2014.
“Alistair was extremely helpful, particularly in encouraging an atmosphere of "let's cut to the chase" which avoided hours spent salami slicing offers back and forth. I would certainly use him again and have recommended him to my colleagues as he was fully on top of the facts (which were tortuous) and the legal issues.”
Associate of large commercial practice referring to the mediation of a professional negligence dispute, December 2013.
“As always, Alistair was approachable, professional and effective.”
Partner of a London commercial property practice following successful mediation of a commercial property dispute, October 2013.
“Alistair Pye was excellent….”
Partner commenting on successful mediation of an inheritance dispute, October 2013.
“Excellent - calm, patient, good insight and understanding of the legal and practical arguments, the diffusing of high emotions and the egos of the too numerous lawyers involved. He had to read a great deal of paperwork on short notice.”
Partner of a Cardiff commercial practice commenting after successful mediation of a complex construction dispute, October 2013.
Professional Qualifications and Affiliations
• Civil Barrister, Mediator, Construction Adjudicator and Lawyer-Neutral
• Former private practice commercial litigation solicitor since 1989; latterly a specialist construction and insurance lawyer with an international firm leading a team advising the construction/engineering industry and its insurers in the resolution of professional liability claims against contractors/consultants
• Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
• CIArb-accredited construction adjudicator
• Former Solicitor–Advocate with rights of audience in all higher courts
• Former member of the Law Society of England and Wales
• Member of the Civil Mediation Council
• Member of the Adjudication Society
• Member of the Society of Construction Law
• Registered with the Bar Council
• Member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
1989 - 2014 Solicitor / solicitor-advocate in private practice
1989 - 1993 Veale Wasbrough Vizards: commercial litigation
1993 - 1996 CMS Cameron McKenna: banking litigation and professional risk
1996 - 2012 DAC Beachcroft: professional risk, construction and insurance
2006 Accredited as a Mediator with London School of Mediation
2006 - 2014 Part time Mediator alongside private practice
2011 Accredited as a Construction Adjudicator by CIArb
2012 - 2014 Beale & Company: construction and insurance litigation
2014 - 2018 Independent Mediator, Construction Adjudicator and Lawyer-Neutral
2017 Called to the Bar (see Barrister profile here)