Stephen Walker is distinguished by peers as "a very able mediator who excels" in commercial disputes.
Stephen is a London-based civil and commercial mediator, and is ranked among the top 40 UK mediators by both Chambers and The Legal 500.
Sources quoted in these guides describe him as a “reliable, no-nonsense mediator" who combines a “relaxed firm style with a sense of humour”, and “comes up to speed quickly on matters of fact and law".
He is credited with “gravitas, which clients like” and a “creative and pragmatic style", and is said to be "ideal for cases where clients just need a deal" as well as "very patient and realistic in his assessment of what settlement might be achievable and tactful in guiding clients towards an achievable solution".
Stephen has been appointed as lead mediator in over 700 civil and commercial mediations with a settlement rate of more than 90 per cent. He also has a 360-degree view of mediation, having been a mediator; an advocate at mediations with clients; and a client himself in a shareholders’ dispute. Stephen understands from personal experience that the mediation process looks very different depending in which chair you are sitting.
Stephen is also accredited on the IMI panel of international commercial mediators. He is dually accredited in the UK and the USA, and is a registered mediator with the Civil Mediation Council. He became an accredited online mediator in 2015 and has been mediating online regularly since then. He has also undertaken specialist training in workplace and family mediation.
Stephen formerly worked as a solicitor in London, specialising in commercial litigation – particularly in matters of insurance, reinsurance, insolvency, financial services and art law. He has also been made a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the RSA for his contribution to thinking on conflict resolution. He lectures on mediation at King’s College London, on the masters’ degree in construction law and dispute resolution.
Stephen also has extensive business experience as a film producer; and as a director of a Lloyd’s insurance broker, a Lloyd’s managing agency, an IT incubator company and a biotech start-up.
Stephen is interested in the development of new ways to provide mediation to clients. He regularly uses online dispute resolution for domestic and international mediations via Zoom. In response to client requests he also offers mediators’ binding resolutions, mediation/arbitration, arbitration/mediation and last-offer arbitration (MEDALOA).
He has published five books on how to get the best out of mediation: Mediation Advocacy: Representing and Advising Clients at Mediation (second edition, 2018, Bloomsbury); Advising and Representing Clients at Mediation (with David Smith; second edition, 2019, Wildy); Setting Up in Business as a Mediator (second edition, 2019, Bloomsbury); Mediation: An A-Z Guide (2016, Bloomsbury); and FAQs for Mediators (2017, Bloomsbury).
He also contributed a specialist chapter, on mediating shareholder disputes and warranty claims, to How to Master Commercial Mediation (edited by David Richbell; 2015, Bloomsbury).
Stephen mediates a wide range of disputes including, over the past year, professional negligence, insolvency claims, property disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, trusts, construction, supply contracts, defamation, restrictive covenants and utilities (gas, electricity and water).
Stephen is happy to co-mediate with mediators from different professional and cultural backgrounds, and is experienced in mediating with interpreters.
He is frequently asked to give talks and workshops at mediation conferences, both in the UK and internationally, and to act as a judge at international mediation competitions.
Having been born and brought up in Manchester, he supports Manchester United. Stephen plays tennis, and is married with three children and one grandson.