These notes are intended to provide basic guidance in preparing for and participating in mediation.
The nature of mediation
Mediation is a private and non-binding form of dispute resolution in which the Mediator as a neutral participator facilitates the Parties to reach their own settlement of the dispute. To enable the Parties to negotiate freely, the process provides for the mediation to be conducted on the basis of absolute confidentiality of all information disclosed during the mediation and on the basis that such information is privileged and cannot be used in subsequent proceedings.
The mediation can be structured as to the degree of formality or informality as may suit the Parties and the dispute.
It is important that the persons representing the Parties in dispute have full authority to agree terms of settlement at the mediation.
Arranging the mediation
When making a booking for a mediation, Palmers will send these guidance notes and the Mediation Agreement to each party participating in the mediation. When the booking is confirmed, an invoice will be sent to the party taking responsibility for payment of the mediation fees and payment will need to be made before the mediation itself.
It is the responsibility of the Parties to organise and arrange the venue. It is important that each of the Parties has a separate private room and that there be one room (perhaps a separate room) large enough to accommodate all persons attending.
Palmers may be able to offer suitable facilities for the mediation.
Before the mediation
The Parties should prepare and send the Mediator a short statement of case along with relevant documents. If possible, the Parties should agree which documents are relevant for the Mediator to see before the mediation. Please bear in mind that only 2 hours of preparation will be allowed for by the Mediator. If the mediation is such that this would be inadequate preparation for the Mediator, the Parties should agree between themselves and with the Mediator for a greater allowance for preparation.
The statements sent to the Mediator may be sent privately and not exchanged with the other Parties unless the Parties wish it to be otherwise.
Each party may expect the Mediator to make brief contact prior to the mediation for the primary purpose of establishing communication and clarifying any arrangements.
Procedure at the mediation
The Mediator will meet each of the Parties privately for a few minutes before the mediation begins in order to effect an introduction.
The Mediator will consult with the Parties and determine the procedure for the mediation. It is likely that there will be a plenary session at the start of the mediation when each party will have an opportunity to make a short oral opening statement which should be designed to be simple, concise and clear and assist the other Parties and the Mediator in understanding that party’s case.
It is probable that the Mediator will then have one or more private sessions with the separate Parties. Such sessions will be entirely confidential and information given to the Mediator during such sessions will be kept confidential by the Mediator unless he is authorised to disclose such information to another party.
When the Parties have reached a settlement, this should be recorded in writing before the mediation is terminated.