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John de Waal QC
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John was accredited as a mediator by CEDR in 2001 since when he has acted as lead mediator in over 100 cases, as well as being an advocate in many more. He is a member of the Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates and occasionally mediates pro bono for Law Works.

As a facilitative mediator, John will suggest solutions but not attempt to evaluate the merits of a party’s case, let alone try to give legal advice. John’s experience is that time and patience can resolve almost all disputes, but that the process cannot be rushed. In the well-used language of mediation, he is in charge of the process but the clients are in charge of the product.

You can view here an example of John’s standard mediation agreement.  A detailed explanation of the mediation process can be found on our mediation pages.  There are excellent mediation facilities available at Hardwicke, and John can also recommend venues in the Midlands. He is also prepared to travel as necessary.

To discuss a possible mediation appointment in confidence, please feel free to contact John direct.  Alternatively you can speak to a member of the Practice management team.

Mediation cases are invariably confidential but some of his recent work includes:

  • Substantial claim for dilapidations where the property was held by a pension fund.
  • Damages claim following termination of a catering contract.
  • Dispute between client and the estate of a former solicitor over monies loans and an interest in property.
  • Dispute between two elderly brothers who had been in a building partnership.
  • Claim for rent and counterclaim for damages for disrepair


“John has considerable personal charm and a very tactful manner; these, coupled with his clear-sighted view of the issues in the case, enabled the parties to negotiate the obstacles which had previously stood in the way of settlement.  John was exceptionally well prepared and had a firm grasp on the subject matter of the dispute.” – Martin Edden, Consultant Solicitor, Tayntons Solicitors

“John’s extensive knowledge and experience of property disputes coupled with his balanced and even handed approach make him an ideal mediator. He tactfully helps the parties to identify the true heart of their dispute and demonstrates a great deal of patience and understanding in facilitating both sensible and practical resolutions. He shows great empathy for both sides of a dispute and manages clients’ expectations well. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending his instruction to our clients.” – Claire-Elaine Arthurs, Head of Property Litigation, Davies and Partners Solicitors

“John builds a good rapport with clients and solicitors. John inspires confidence in the process and quickly grasps the relevant issues, however complex, and searches for sensible settlement opportunities at an early stage” – Nicola Purcell, Foot Anstey

Directory recommendations

John is recommended in Chambers UK and Legal 500 both for property litigation and professional negligence.  He is described as:

  • “He is effective and persuasive, even under extreme fire.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Razor-sharp legal mind which is alive to the practical application of the legal analysis.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Very approachable and always willing to sit down with a client.” (Chambers UK)
  • User friendly and sensible.’ (Legal 500)
  • “Puts a lot of thought into strategy and is very easy to work with.” (Legal 500)
  • “…provides good clear advice at the outset. He can deal with difficult clients and understands the drivers behind the decisions made by insurers.” (Legal 500)
  • “Ruthlessly commercial, client-focused and supportive.” (Chambers UK)
  • “His calm, self-assured manner instils confidence in clients.” (Legal 500)
  • “He is very approachable and very responsive.” (Chambers UK)

Professional associations

  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Property Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association


  • Contributor to Paul Reed QC’s Construction All Risks Insurance, Sweet & Maxwell, 2014.
  • Risk & Negligence in Property Transactions (The Law Society) – publication late 2018.


MA (Cantab)