Making Mediation Happen

How long does it take to arrange?
This is mainly dependant on the availability of all concerned. If everybody is free then a mediation can be arranged to take place at very short notice.

How do I prepare?
There are two important aspects to this, the information that will be available during the mediation and also the preparation you undertake for the mediation day.
The parties need to give careful consideration as to what documentation and other information is actually needed for the purposes of the mediation: remember, this is not a trial or other formal process. Essential information is usually:
•    a bundle of documents which are core to the dispute (preferably agreed)
•    a summary of the main facts of the dispute and its history (preferably agreed)
•    each party’s own statement of its position in the dispute.
It is important to strike a balance between ensuring that everybody has sufficient information to enable then to concentrate on resolving the dispute and finding a solution, and at the same time ensuring that the mediation does not become bogged down in too much detail.
Please do feel free to contact us at any time if you have any queries about the information required.
The second aspect is the amount of preparation that the mediator and the parties should undertake. The mediator will prepare for the mediation day, but it is also important that the parties and their representatives prepare as well in order to optimise the chances of the mediation being successful. Although the mediator will help the parties on the day the parties should consider what it is that they need in order to resolve the dispute. This frequently involves a careful consideration of a number of issues, including:
•    strengths and weaknesses;
•    possible solutions;
•    present and future costs of the dispute (not just monetary);
•    other concerns.

What happens on the day?
Mediation is a very flexible process, and what actually happens on the day will be decided by the parties, with guidance from the mediator. In some cases, particularly multi-party or complicated ones, a preliminary meeting with each of the parties before the day will help.
However, the path that the parties commonly choose to follow is as follows.
•    An open meeting. This is very important. Although it will usually be challenging for the parties it allows thoughts to be aired and listened to. It is often the case that the parties feel that they have re-established some lines of communication that had been lost during the history of the dispute. At the end of that session (which can be as long or as short as the parties decide), the parties will move on to closed sessions.
•    Closed sessions. The parties will review with the mediator how they felt that matters went during the open session. The mediator will work with them to revisit the dispute and explore what they need in order find a solution. There will usually be many closed sessions of varying length, but the inherent confidentiality of each enables the mediator to create a unique profile of how the dispute may be resolved.
•    Anything else that the parties want! The flexibility of the process which is owned by the parties means that the parties are free to do whatever they want. Examples of options are a further open session; a meeting between individual representatives of the parties themselves (without their representatives); talking over lunch; a walk around the block; anything that the parties feel helps them.
•    The settlement. Nothing is binding on the parties until it is committed to writing. It is for the parties and their representatives to agree the wording of the settlement agreement. However, the mediator can assist the parties in ensuring that all relevant provisions are included and that they have addressed their minds to issues that were of concern to them during the course of the day.

Any questions?
Just complete the enquiry form here and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Of course, all enquiries will be handled in the strictest confidence and without any obligation on your part.
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