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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.  He is recommended as a “very good” mediator by Legal 500.

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.

John is a judge at the annual ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition.

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
  • Tripartite dispute between school, local authority and supplier of modular buildings
  • Tripartite dispute between adjoining landowners and solicitor about trespass to land


“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 also recommended by Legal 500 as a mediator and as real estate and also professional negligence silk by the Who’s Who Legal. He is described as:

  • He is a very good team player with the solicitors and enjoys a very good rapport with clients. John is able to convey complex argument simply and eloquently, both in writing and in advocacy.’ (Legal 500)
  • He provides excellent, sharp and issue-focused advice.’ (Legal 500)
  • “Very much a team player, responsive and good to deal with. He picks up good points and gives clear commercial advice.”  (Chambers UK)
  • “He is very commercial, gives realistic assessments of chances and is good on tactics.” “He is approachable and gets right into the detail.” (Chambers UK)
  • “He gets to the point immediately and deals very adeptly with the client, even if they are unfamiliar with the area of law. It’s a really pleasant and a thoroughly modern approach.” “He has expert knowledge of the law and an authoritative air, and gives you an answer rather than a range of options.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Razor-sharp legal mind which is alive to the practical application of the legal analysis.” (Chambers UK)
  • He has an exceptional knowledge of the law and an excellent ability to provide clear, concise advice.” (Legal 500)
  • “He is effective and persuasive, even under extreme fire.” (Chambers UK)
  • “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)

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)