The day of your mediation is unique. It is not a day like any other. It is the day that you, the parties, have the opportunity, the ability and, ultimately the control, to bring your dispute to a resolution and, to move on with the other aspects in your life.
Clear communications and interactions are key to resolving your dispute.
With open, honest conversation and flow of information between us, the more you involve yourself in the discussions, the more open you become about your interests of the dispute, despite the day being set aside for discussions, the earlier you can go home.
Typically, the mediation will begin at 10am, however, this is flexible to meet the needs of the parties.
Once settled in your private rooms, who the decision makers are and conformation of the authority has been established, I will answer any further questions that you may have before preparing you for an opening meeting.
I explain my role, limits, and involvement in the mediation. I will go through the agreed terms of mediation agreement and remind all parties of its conditions. I will then explain your role and what is expected from you, i.e. be respectful, no shouting, swearing or insults, clarify which names (usually first names) will be used and for you to give me your full attention during our discussions and private meetings, i.e. no use of mobile phones, laptops, etc. at that point.
I will then ask for the final revision of mediation agreement, which forms the basis of the day, to be signed by all parties.
If it is agreed there will be a joint opening meeting, (An initial joint meeting is normal, however, it may not be case in all mediations, it depends on your needs and comfort levels) I will ask you to present your opening statements to the room. If deemed productive, I may allow some discussion to develop, e.g. the agenda as you see it, etc. if not, I will ask you to return to your private rooms for the individual meetings and mediation discussions to begin.
Remember: clear communication and interaction are key to resolving your dispute.
All discussions in your private rooms are completely confidential. I will not break any confidence, what we discuss in your private room will remain between us. Nothing will be conveyed to the other party unless you have asked me to relay it or have given me your express permission to do so.
Moving back and forth between the party’s private rooms and through hard work and commitment to the mediation process, we will look to explore and identify your individual needs and interests of the dispute.
Discussion on your experience and history of the dispute is often helpful, it may even be necessary to allow you to air any anger or frustration , however, the point of the mediation is to bring an end to the dispute, therefore the focus should concentrate on the here, now and the future, to agreeing on the way forward for the discussions to lead to a resolution.
With reality testing, exploring options and possibilities together, a broad foundation for further discussions and negotiations naturally emerges and becomes established.
As the mediation process progresses, the broad foundation becomes more focused which ultimately leads to the shaping and outline of a firmer settlement. At each stage, sufficient time is taken to ensure that all the party’s interests are covered, that all agreed terms and/or conditions are realistic and workable, costs and any other practicalities can be met.
Drafting the Mediation Settlement Agreement
Once all parties are satisfied that their interests have been covered, a draft mediation settlement agreement is then shaped and moulded by you and your legal side, if present, which will eventually become the mediation settlement agreement itself. (If you have no legal side present, if required, I assist you with the draft agreement)
The Mediation Settlement Agreement
Although it is not normally required, if needed, I will assist your legal side with formatting the draft mediation settlement agreement into the final mediation settlement agreement. (If you have no legal side present, I can assist you with the final agreement)
Plenty of time will then be allowed for a review of the document to ensure that it fully represents what has been discussed and agreed between the parties throughout the day and that the parties completely understand the implications of the terms and conditions it places upon them.
Signing of the Settlement Agreement
Once it has been established that all parties are happy with the settlement that has been reached and that they fully understand the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement, I will then facilitate the signing of the agreement and arrange for signed copies to be distributed to all parties.
Failure to Settle
Occasionally, for one reason or another, be it distrust, lack of realism, emotions, sense of principle, not all cases settle.
This should not be viewed as failing; it should be viewed as a temporary setback.
Rather than be drafted as a final settlement agreement as detailed above, a key advantage of the dynamics and flexibility offered by the mediation process allows for an interim agreement document to be drafted allowing the parties to agree further steps, actions or to set tasks to a defined timescale before returning mediation for a more focused and narrower discussion to settlement.
It is important to remember that these steps, actions and/or tasks are still subject to the terms and conditions of the original signed mediation agreement. If agreeable with the parties, I will continue to maintain regular contact with them with the the view of picking the mediation up again allowing the mediation process to convene at a later date.
A party’s decision to leave the Mediation
As mediation is a voluntary process and attendance, if a party decides at any point during the day, they would like to leave the mediation, to allow me to understand their thoughts, I would ask them to agree to meet with me for a short period to discuss their reasons behind this decision.