Alun Oliver becomes CEDR Accredited Mediator

Congratulations to E3 Consulting Managing Director, Alun Oliver, on his recent successful completion of the Mediator Skill Training course run by The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) to become a CEDR Accredited Mediator.



CEDR is an independent non-profit organisation and a registered charity. It is a leading Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service provider – seeking to promote better outcomes to conflict – wherever conflict may arise across the globe; in commercial and/or consumer disputes. CEDR is one of the foremost institutions providing specialist training to mediators. As a new member of the CEDR Exchange, members have the opportunity to develop their leadership, social responsibility, entrepreneurship and networking skills to empower them to create and deliver positive change.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a trained neutral Mediator actively assists individuals and/or organisations to work towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute. The parties are ultimately in control of the decision to settle and the terms of resolution. It can be a far more effective – and better value for money – way of resolving issues than undertaking litigation. Increasingly, professional bodies have been adopting ADR and mediation as a required step in any dispute resolution or ‘customer complaints’ procedure – including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). As a practice Regulated by RICS, E3 consulting is required to offer a customer complaints procedure that is underpinned by reference of unresolved matters to CEDR for resolution, in advance of any Court options.

ADR in Taxation

HMRC has since September 2013 been offering a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individuals as a means of resolving tax disputes. Disputes would otherwise be settled either by agreement or through litigation. But alternative dispute resolution provides additional mechanisms (e.g. facilitated discussion, mediation, etc.) to ‘unblock’ disputes and seek settlement without recourse to litigation. HMRC has been looking to build upon these processes - mainly forms of mediation or facilitation - in the context of resolving tax disputes.

Over the years Alun has regularly engaged with HMRC, attended meetings to discuss and negotiate settlement of various tax enquiries and specific challenges to claims. Where appropriate, he has dealt with property tax matters by detailed technical correspondence with HMRC and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), as well as numerous Local Planning Authorities across the UK. During ‘lockdown’ Alun augmented his practice based experience of dispute resolution by undertaking the 6-day CEDR training course to gain his accreditation as a CEDR Mediator.

Earlier this summer, no doubt in part due to the Covid-19 backlog of cases, HMRC updated its ADR approach - enabling ADR applications to now be requested up until the date of a Tribunal. Previously, HMRC restricted application up until the date by which its statement of case was due to be submitted. The Tribunal will normally allow a stay (putting the tribunal proceedings on temporary hold) of up to 150 days where an appeal has been accepted for ADR. Should further time be required, this must be requested from the Tribunal.

Individuals and SMEs can now apply to HMRC to use a facilitation-based form of ADR in connection with outstanding tax disputes. This involves the appointment of a trained HMRC facilitator who will work with the taxpayer and the HMRC case owner in order to try to broker an acceptable agreement. The process is intended to be relatively informal although there is no guarantee that it will achieve any particular outcome. However, the main advantages are the potential cost and time savings for both parties.

Further action

If you have an outstanding tax dispute, whether property tax related, or not, do get in touch with Alun, as a fresh pair of eyes can help to relieve any deadlock or impasse and recommence dialogue to ensure progress towards a timely settlement.


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