How does mediation work?
Mediators facilitate negotiation. They do not take sides or tell the parties what to do. The parties remain in control.
Mediation also works because:-
It gets all the relevant people in the same place at the same time enabling them to focus on delivering a solution that works.
Parties know that they can talk in confidence to the mediator about what they hope to achieve and how a dispute can be resolved knowing that the mediator will not pass that information to the other side unless specifically authorised to do so.
The mediator can help generate new potential solutions that deal with the concerns of both parties in a way that might not be otherwise considered at all.
It facilitates the exchange of information and gives the parties a chance to ‘have their say’ in a way not often available to them at court.
It gives the parties a chance to get things off their chest in a confidential environment.
Mediation is an amicable, informal way of meeting and deciding your options
What will actually happen in the mediation?
There are different ways of mediating. Some people do not wish to meet at all and some wish to have a face to face discussion. Usually a substantial part of the mediation will take place with the parties in separate rooms, with the mediators going between them discussing the available options in confidence and helping to build a co-operative atmosphere in which a solution to the dispute can be found.
Mediations can take anything from half a day to a couple of days for difficult cases but the vast majority are completed within a single day. At the end of the mediation the parties agree with the mediator what the summary of the outcome will say, and with whom it will be shared. Both parties will sign it and their legal advisors will be able to take steps to terminate any litigation.
Will I need a solicitor if I mediate?
Although mediators can put your case within a legal framework, they do not and are not allowed to give you legal advice. It may be that the dispute is already in the hands of solicitors and litigation has started in which case solicitors will almost certainly be involved in the mediation. In any event you are encouraged to get advice from a solicitor so that you can make informed decisions. Your solicitor will give you an idea of the best and worst case scenarios were the matter to be dealt with by a Judge in court. Also, once you have reached a mediated settlement, you will probably want a solicitor to check your proposals and turn them into a binding agreement and will certainly do so if you want the agreement to be in the form of a directly enforceable court order.
Mediation is quicker, simpler, cheaper than purely using solicitors