What is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential form of dispute resolution, in which a mediator assists the disputing parties to come to an agreement.  The Courts urge parties to resolve matters before claims are brought in an attempt to reduce further costs and parties experiencing the stress that comes with litigation.

Clearly, the goal is for each party to walk away with an agreement they are satisfied with.  The journey to get to this agreement varies depending on the mediator, circumstances of the case, and the types of parties involved.

Typically, a mediation day will include offers going forward and backward, long discussions with the mediator and your legal representatives, solicitors/barristers drafting agreements on the spot, and hopefully the feeling of immense weight coming off your shoulders if the dispute is resolved.

What did I learn?

Mediation is not a court hearing; the mediator is not a judge.  The mediator’s role is to facilitate a resolution between both parties so that each can, if lucky, walk away happy and satisfied.

Money is the focus.  Some may use mediation as a form of therapy and a way to gain closure, but your solicitor and barrister will be advising you on a commercial basis.  Emotions and pride can be financially costly and mentally taxing.

Unlike the movies, where parties come together in one room, argue and make offers on the spot.  Each party, including the mediator, has their own room and will not see or speak to each other for the duration of the mediation.

10 Top Tips

  1. Do not make plans in the evening. Although mediations are scheduled for a working day, they can go late into the evening.  I made the mistake of planning to watch the England v Italy euro game with friends naively believing I will be home in time for the game.  In the end, the mediation finished shortly before midnight.  So, make sure to plan accordingly, especially if you require childcare late into the night!
  2. Pace yourself. Mediation is a long day.  Make sure to rest, go for a walk and take a breather.
  3. Eat and drink. Make sure to eat the plate of chocolate and biscuits provided.  Studies show that people are more likely to make a decision if they have sugar.  Eat and drink throughout the day, and order pizza if needed.  And remember, your solicitor will also be your personal barista for the day, ask them for coffee!
  4. Agree on the small things. Often people get bogged down on small minor points of the dispute and do not realise that the day will go by quickly.  Focus on the bigger picture and make the most of the time.
  5. Trust your solicitor. They are on your side, and they are there to get the best possible deal for you.
  6. Trust in the mediator. They are neutral and are trying to find the perfect balance to make sure each party is happy.  They have nothing to gain from the mediation so you can trust that they are not going to be bias.
  7. Be open-minded. Consider what the other party says.  You do not need to agree, but understanding their view may help you come to some agreement.
  8. Do not expect the other side to change their mind. Mediation is not about figuring out who is right or wrong, it is about coming to an agreement.
  9. Ask questions. This is your day, do not leave wishing you said what was on your mind or asked that ‘stupid’ question you were thinking about.
  10. Leave emotions and pride behind. Mediation is about coming to a financial agreement, and not about resolving familial disputes.

For more information about Mediation, or to book an appointment, please contact one of our Mediation Team.