Where to start?

 

• Examine the range of options to help resolve the problem. Define your objectives, real needs and concerns and discuss the options to achieve these. If mediation seems to offer a possible way forward, remind yourself of the benefits of mediation including, speed, cost-effectiveness, control over the outcome, confidentiality, flexibility, creative solutions and closure.
• Approach the other party or solicitors and inquire about their willingness to use mediation. If they are agreeable you can refer to the ‘Find a Mediator’ on this site and you both can agree to a mediator from this list. Visit ‘Selecting a Mediator’ for some useful tips.

 

• Alternatively, if a direct approach may not or does not work, approach one of the mediators from the ‘Find a Mediator’ listing on this website and ask them to make contact with the other party/lawyer to discuss the suitability of the case for mediation and the way forward; it can often be helpful to have this initial approach made by a neutral experienced mediation practitioner or service provider.

 

• If the client on either side (or legal adviser) is unsure, suggest an exploratory meeting, without commitment, with a mediator when the suitability of the matter for mediation can be addressed and information provided on costs, timescales and preparation.

 

• If there is reluctance at any stage, ask the other party/lawyer questions about their concerns (rather than simply setting out one’s own position) and listen to the response.

 

• Consider the alternatives to mediation and the consequences in terms of costs, time, outcome and publicity.

 

• Broaden the focus of the mediation process from solely achieving resolution to include exchange of information, gaining of understanding and narrowing of issues.

 

• Create an action plan with clearly identified steps moving towards mediation; remember it is not just a one off day – it is a flexible process which can be tailored to the requirements of the matter in dispute and requires good preparation and possible follow up.

 

• Seek to work collaboratively with the other party in the preparation of papers for the mediation; prepare a “shopping list” of the information you need from the other party to make negotiations in mediation meaningful; consider what information and/or documents you can disclose to the other party and which might assist them in better understanding your position and moving forward towards a solution; consider preparing a joint schedule of information/issues in dispute.

 

• Suggest that the other party/lawyer selects the mediator and that you will agree to their choice.

 

• Offer to pay the mediation costs – perhaps even the other party’s legal costs for representation at the mediation.

 

• View strong emotions being expressed by clients and/or the other side as helpful – it is material that can be used in the mediation process.