Frequently asked questions
If you are considering using mediation in order to help resolve your dispute without the need for legal action (or if this has already commenced then for a conclusion to be reached long before a court hearing) then you may have a few questions about the process, how it works and whether it is right for you.
Firstly it is important to remember that mediation is not about winning or losing; it is about all the participants exploring possible solutions within the spirit of cooperation, understanding and mutual respect. This means that the range of settlements open to you are not constrained to those offered by the law and indeed often entails a solution that could not be reached within any courtroom.
Remember that Mediation comes highly recommended and is actively encouraged by the Judiciary for very good reason … in excess of 90% of disputes brought to Mediation settle on the day or very soon afterwards.
Just click on one of the tabs below.
It involves the Participants in a dispute (together with their Lawyers, Advisors or Supporters if applicable) meeting with a neutral third person (The Mediator) with the mutual aim of finding a solution to the issue or problem at hand.
Mediations are absolutely confidential and ‘without prejudice’. The information discussed within them cannot be used in Court or in any other legal action issued at a later date should this prove necessary.
There are no wrong answers, the solution need not one with a foundation in law or precedent, it is totally unique to those involved and need only represent a ‘good enough’ outcome for them.
Having reached a settlement participants tend to keep to their agreements because they have been directly involved in the settlement themselves, solutions are therefore generally more durable than those that have been imposed upon them.
They will not offer legal or any other form of advice on your position or whether a proposed settlement is right for you. Most Mediators are not Lawyers, even if they are their role in the process is not as an advisor. Participants are free to obtain legal advice before or during the process or to bring their advisor with them.
This means Mediation is generally considered to be less stressful and intimidating than a Court Hearing. The solutions available within a Mediation are limited only to those that the participants can create and agree between them, it is not necessary for them to fit into the remedies set down in law.
• It is quicker.
Most mediations are completed within a day or less. HSM’s Mediators can be booked with just 30 days notice and diary dependent can be available even at very short notice. Unlike Court or Tribunal hearings which are not usually able to be listed for many months, at times even a year in advance.
• Mediation is significantly cheaper & more predictable than Litigation.
Solicitor’s bills are calculated on the basis of units of time spent on the issue, how many letters and phone calls are made and received, how long is needed to consider the applicable laws and prepare the case for a hearing, this means it is almost impossible to predict ahead of time just how much it will cost to bring a matter to a conclusion. On top of this you will need to add the cost of Court Fees, photocopying, travel and any experts who are needed to prepare reports and appear as witnesses etc. With Mediation the fee is fixed ahead of time and will only increase if all involved agree that the Mediation session should continue beyond the originally allowed time, even then that cost has been set out in advance within the Mediation Agreement. Even if the mediation is unsuccessful the process will have helped to clarify the issues which are in dispute which will need subsequently need to be dealt with through Litigation.
• The Participants retain control of the process & the outcome.
This generally means that any settlement agreement results in a win/win solution for both participants. Nothing is imposed upon them by a Judge or Arbitrator. The Participants do not become observers from the periphery while Lawyers battle it out quoting indecipherable legalese, the process and the solution belongs solely to those directly involved in and affected by the dispute regardless of whether they are accompanied by a Legal Representative. Because of this Mediation is not possible without the full cooperation of each and every participatant and will come to an end should any one of you decide to leave (which once again, unlike a Court Hearing, you are able to do at any time.) However if you take an active and positive approach to the process and bring with you a desire to walk away having found a solution you will find that you will be able to reap all the benefits that have been identified above.
We also recommend the Mediation Handbook 2013/14 which is the ‘Industry Bible’ on Mediation as recommended by Mediation’s governing body The Civil Mediation Council. The Handbook can be downloaded for free HERE.
It reads well in Adobe Acrobat, Windows 8 Reader, and Mac, and is especially geared to iBook storage on the iPad. If you are interesting in Training as Mediator then we are proud to recommend London School of Mediation (LSM) one of the World’s leading organisations for Mediation Training.
You can contact LSM by telephone +44 (0) 207 427 0848, by email Send email, or visit their website www.schoolofmediation.org