A story in The Times today is a good example of litigation which resulted in a ‘pyrrhic victory’. This kind of outcome is more common than people acknowledge. Bottom line: there is no ‘win’ if you don’t get paid or the process of getting to a win costs more than the settlement award. Sometimes you might be better off flipping a coin.
From the report this is about a great business idea, which was successful until one partner took advantage of his trusted position as accountant and put all the shares of the company in his name. This case that would have benefited from mediation. Whatever the outcome at mediation, the parties would have had more choices, better information and very possibly a settlement that could be implemented. Mediation is about risk assessment and decision making within the context of what works for these people in this case. That is something the courts cannot offer.
“I’m sorry that the clients were disappointed. I can understand their frustration at not recovering the money because of the insolvency and the bankruptcy. But that is what can happen in these cases.”From the Claimant’s solicitor
Pyrrhos’ army won important battles but his losses were so high he was unable to keep his gains, thus the phrase ‘Pyrrhic victory’.