Mediation is a voluntary process where the parties engage an agreed mediator to facilitate a settlement between them, through a process set out in a mediation agreement.
As mediator I work with all parties neutrally and impartially, sometimes in separate meetings, to systematically identify the issues in dispute. Using joint problem-solving techniques we develop and explore options for resolution to meet the parties’ interests and needs, the goal being a settlement acceptable to all parties. How mediation is conducted depends on the parties and the nature of the dispute. Two-party mediation sessions are usually concluded within one day, although sometimes it is late at night before a mediated agreement is concluded.
As mediator I seek to facilitate agreement, not to give advice. I will not seek to impose an outcome, or make decisions for the parties, nor can I provide any assurance that the parties will reach a settlement at all.
Once the parties have agreed to my appointment a short preliminary meeting or teleconference will be called to sort out procedural matters including venue and timing, terms of engagement, and the parties’ Agreement to Mediate. Alternatively these matters may be sorted out by email.
It may be helpful for the parties to provide a brief case summary and relevant documents a few days ahead of the mediation. This allows me to become familiar with the background to the dispute, and to have an understanding of the issues between the parties. Summarising the situation also helps parties to focus their minds on the matters in dispute, and to ensure that they have all necessary documentation and relevant witnesses available for the mediation.