The parties choose an independent third party mediator to help the parties resolve the dispute. Both parties must agree on the choice of mediator. The mediator, who may be accompanied by one or more assistants, is impartial and does not act for either of the parties.
Where does the mediation happen?
The parties meet at an agreed location. The mediation usually requires two rooms, but preferably three rooms, available to the parties for a day. The parties start off in their own rooms and then may meet together in one room at different stages throughout the day if that makes sense for everybody. However, it is not a strict requirement that the parties ever meet face-to-face during the mediation. The mediator moves from room to room as is appropriate throughout the day.
Mediation is confidential and totally risk-free
The mediator and anyone assisting the mediator must keep everything that is said by each party confidential unless that party authorises the mediator to release the information to the other party. That is a fundamental element of mediation. It means that the mediator can listen to the way in which each party is thinking about resolving the dispute and can make suggestions as to ways in which to negotiate a settlement with the other party.
In addition – mediation is always “without prejudice”. This means that the parties cannot repeat anything that the other party says or does in mediation in order to progress their formal court claim.
Mediation takes place in a totally risk-free environment
Settlement reached by the end of the day
If the parties reach an agreement then the details of that agreement will generally be written up and signed before the parties leave the mediation. It is therefore essential that a decision-maker for each party is present. If that is not possible a decision-maker should be available on the telephone.
It is important to attend the mediation equipped to settle on the day
Because an agreement should be signed on the day it is preferable that each party has a lawyer with them to draw up the terms of the settlement agreement. A draft agreement can be circulated before the mediation, which will need to be amended on the day.
What does mediation offer?
Mediation offers both parties a real chance to reach a settlement that, while not ideal for either, is far preferable to losing a dispute, and infinitely better than paying huge fees to lawyers for the litigation and waiting many months, or over a year in some cases, to receive a court judgment.
Contact us for further information
By post to E&G Solicitors, 17 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4QH, UK.
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By telephone on +44 (0)20 3478 1424.
At E&G we offer a free no obligation 20 minutes confidential consultation for our mediation services.