The parties must agree to mediate.  They then agree on a mediator (who preferably should be qualified and accredited).  The parties then need to sign a mediation agreement. Each party pays half the mediator’s fee at this stage.

The mediator carries out research into the dispute.

The parties agree with the mediator on a venue that must have 3 meeting rooms and can provide tea, coffee and food for lunch.  There may be a preliminary meeting for the mediator to explain the process and establish a time table for parties to send him any documents, and to fix a date for the mediation. If necessary the first meeting and mediation can be on the same day with the documents sent previously as arranged by the mediator.

The mediation itself is a series of meetings usually over one day.  It is essential that it is attended by the decision makers on each side.  Those attending must have power to bind that party there and then. Usually there will be a joint meeting at which the mediator sets the ground rules and each party has the opportunity to explain their position without interruption.  The mediator or other party may ask questions only to clarify a point.

Each party will then go to their own room (with advisers if appropriate).  The mediator will visit each in turn listening to what they say. Everything said to the mediator is confidential and without prejudice.  It is really important that each talks to the mediator openly and honestly about their issues and concerns, and their goals for the day. The mediator will only mention to the other party what he is authorised to say.

It is important to remember that the mediator has no power to impose and will not even suggest a method of settlement. His/her aims are to explore options, discuss a party’s points and proposals as authorised with the other and encourage and assist the parties to reach a resolution to their problem which they can both accept and to which they are both prepared to agree.  To this end the mediator may at any time during the day call the parties together for a joint meeting to assess progress, exchange ideas, and work towards a settlement.

No one will normally leave the venue during the day.  Lunch is taken at the venue

Once  settlement is reached, the mediator will draw up a binding settlement agreement there and then which the parties and the mediator will sign before leaving the venue.

Please Note:  The above deals with  true mediations.  It does not apply to our specialist “One sided mediation” where we act for one party, and assist them to settle and resolve their differences with the other party. That assistance is tailored to the needs of the situation.

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