The mediation process
I will guide you through the process. I usually have a meeting with you (either face to face or by phone) before the mediation to prepare you for the mediation and answer any questions. The process during the mediation follows:
- The Mediator explains the mediation process and answers any questions
Before the mediation begins I will go over what is going to happen in the mediation and answer any questions you have. I will ask you to agree on some ground rules eg you agree that only one person speaks at a time and you will not interrupt the other person.
- Each party tells the Mediator how he or she sees the situation
I will ask each of you to tell me how see you see the situation. My role is to allow each of you to speak without interruption from the other person. Then I will summarise what I have heard each of you saying.
- The Mediator identifies the issues in dispute
From what you and the other party have told me, I will identify the real issues that are underlying your conflict and write these up on the whiteboard.
- The Mediator helps the parties to discuss each issue
With my help, you will start to talk to each other about each issue in turn. Often this is the first time for a long time that you will have been in a safe place where you can really listen to each other and gain an understanding of how the other person feels about the issues.
- The Mediator talks to each party separately and privately
When we have discussed all the issues, I will speak privately and confidentially to each of you, while the other person takes a coffee break. I will check how the mediation is going for you and answer any questions. This is a chance for you to discuss with me anything you might not want to raise in front of the other person.
- The Mediator helps the parties to work out options that meet their needs
We start to ‘brainstorm’ ideas that might meet both your needs. We then start to expand the options that seem like they might work.
- The parties agree on the option that best meets their needs
Once we have all the options identified, we start looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each one and which one(s) best meet both your needs. Often the final agreement will be a combination of the options. (Statistics tell us that at least 80% of mediations result in agreements).
- The Mediator prepares an agreement and the parties sign it
Together, we will prepare an agreement that we will all sign. Sometimes that agreement is all you need. However, you may wish to take the agreement to your lawyers to have a more formal agreement drawn up and signed.Even if you do not reach agreement on all issues at the mediation, you usually work out what issues you can agree on and what issues you may need to have the legal system decide for you.