The Mediation Process
Mediation works in subtle ways and as every mediation is different, we adapt to the needs of the parties.
For those who have not mediated with us yet here is a general idea of the stages it goes through.
Pre meeting preparation
Before the mediation, we say hello by phone, email or in person and select the team that will mediate as well as the venue and timetable to suit you and other party or parties. We help you work out who needs to attend and check the authority to settle.
We like to know the flavour of the dispute, ensure the Agreement to Mediate is signed which includes a full Confidentiality Clause to enhance the confidentiality that mediation brings. On the day we make sure anyone and everyone present signs up to confidentiality as it is so essential for you to feel enabled to speak freely.
Before the mediation we ask for brief written summaries of the dispute and any necessary supporting documents at least 7 days in advance of the mediation so we have time to read it.
Mediation usually begins by meeting each side individually and preparing for an opening session with everyone present. This gives as opportunity to understand the needs of a particular party and facilitates self-expression of interests and needs.
With parties together, the mediator explains the process and requests parties, lawyers and anyone else necessary, to speak. In listening to yourself and listening to the others speaking, the process unfolds into creating greater clarity of the issues. Issues become agenda items to be explored in turn. By digging into each item in detail, problem solving into solutions happens as a result of this process. If the parties have a genuine intention to settle and full authority to do so, mediation always comes up with the solutions.
Sometimes for confidentiality and discussion privately, the session together will part into separate rooms with the mediator assisting each party in turn in confidence. Importantly, these private sessions are confidential, meaning the mediator will not tell anything said by you to the other side without your express and explicit agreement to do so.
Mediation is very flexible. Sometimes, if there are experts present they may meet on their own to iron out a point or two, called “hot tubbing”.
Mediation is like a complicated 3D puzzle through which the mediator attempts to guide you. Small pieces crystallise into points of agreement which can be put aside while other parts are sorted. Slowly something comes together as to how both parties wish to settle and the full points of agreement may appear.
If there are lawyers present, they usually draft the appropriate clauses for a Settlement Agreement, which is the written document created as a result of what you choose the outcome to be. This document is read over and considered by you in detail before signing. In civil and commercial mediation you are bound by the document you sign at the end, as it ends the dispute. Until that point anything can be reconsidered. If there are legal proceedings, the Settlement Agreement will be made into an order to end the proceedings.