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Remember the collapse of Atlantic Computers in 1990? It also brought down British & Commonwealth Holdings (B&C) – the company that had taken it over. The collapse triggered a series of litigations. After an extensive investigation into Atlantic by the DTI, Atlantic and B&C started proceedings against a spectacular cast including BZW (B&C’s advisers in the takeover), NM Rothschild (Atlantic’s advisers in the takeover), OC&C (strategy consultants in the takeover), Spicer & Oppenheim (Atlantic’s former auditors) and various Atlantic directors. B&C also sued Atlantic. B&C claimed a total of £850m including interest. The trial had been scheduled to begin in May 2000 and was predicted to last for 15 months. The litigation settled in January 1999 following the biggest-ever known European mediation. The mediation was conducted with the support and approval of the Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) by two co-mediators – Lord Griffiths, a retired Law Lord, and US mediator Jonathan Marks. Is mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) particularly suited to insolvency-related cases? We think it is.

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