The Mediation Process
Underlying Principles of Mediation
1. The aim of mediation is to bring the parties together to try to find a solution. The emphasis is on the future - finding a way forward rather than making judgements or apportioning blame.
2. It is a collaborative and voluntary process. All parties are encouraged to suggest their own solutions.
3. The mediator's role is to facilitate the discussions and help to the parties to negotiate in a positive way to reach a good agreement.
4. The mediator is impartial and will seek to help all parties equally.
5. The mediation process is strictly confidential. Any information or documents arising from the mediation will not be disclosed to other parties or anyone else without permission. The only exception to this is where disclosure is required by law; e.g. money laundering.
6. Any party may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.
7. The mediation process can be started by either party. Referrals can also be made by a party's legal or other representatives. Mediation cannot take place unless both (or all) parties engage in the process. Ideally the parties will already have agreed to mediation and it will be a joint referral but occasionally one party contacts the mediator in the hope that the mediator can help to secure the participation of the other.
8. In initial discussions with all parties I will explain the mediation process and if all the parties agree to proceed to mediation, we will agree the timetable, arrangements and fee. Each party will be sent an "agreement to mediate" which they will be asked to sign and return together with their share of the fee payable. I will also ask each party to complete a brief questionnaire providing a summary of the dispute and issues as they see them.
9. Mediations can take place online or by telephone, but usually we have a mediation meeting (or a series of meetings) at a suitable venue. I will begin by re-stating the ground rules and procedure. Each party will then have an opportunity to tell their side of the story, without interruption, and make any statements to the other side that they think may be helpful.
10. I will then discuss the issues and possible solutions in private meetings with each party in turn. I will try to help the parties to look at the situation realistically, discuss the options and consider the best way forward. These individual meetings will be strictly confidential and I will not disclose any information to the other party or parties without a formal agreement to do so. If and when it becomes appropriate, further joint sessions may be held.
11. I agreement can be reached, the details of the agreement will be written down and signed by the parties. Copies will be provided to each of the parties. Care will be taken to ensure that agreements are practical, realistic and have contingency arrangements in should anything go wrong in future.
12. Most disputes can be settled through mediation (the settlement rate is about 80%) and most can be resolved in a day. A strict timetable helps to concentrate the mind and drive the matter forward. Exceptionally, if no agreement can be reached at the initial mediation appointment, further meetings can be arranged as appropriate. The process is not open-ended, however, and further meetings will only be arranged where all parties agree that it is worthwhile in the attempt to find a solution.
13. At the conclusion of the mediation the parties will be requested to complete a simple feedback form.