Mediation can be a simple and effective way of resolving matters outside of court.
The purpose of mediation is for an independent qualified mediator to remain impartial, by assisting both you and the other party to reach a mutual agreement about a dispute.
What are the pros?
- It’s a voluntary process – you can stop mediation at any time if you decide it isn’t right for you;
- It’s confidential – whatever you discuss during mediation can’t be disclosed to the court if matters are unable to be resolved, this protects your position;
- You can take things at your own pace – no involvement of the court means no timetables and reduced pressures;
- It can be cost effective if it’s successful;
- Any agreements reached in mediation are not final – your mediator will generally set out the terms of your agreement, meaning you can still seek separate advice; and
- You can pick who your mediator is – you won’t be stuck with a judge you may not see eye to eye with!
There are, however, a number of things to think about before deciding if it’s the right process for you – it isn’t suitable for everyone.
Do I still need a solicitor?
Your solicitor can give you an initial view on the likely success of mediation, if it is suitable for you, recommend an appropriate mediator to you and give you advice in the background.
If mediation is suitable and successful, you will need to draw up the terms of the agreement reached to make it binding; your solicitor can do this for you.
How do I prepare for mediation to get the best out of it?
Before attending mediation, you will need to think about your interests and priorities. Think about what you want to achieve. Write a list of things that could be deal breakers and what things may be capable of negotiation.
You will most definitely need to be open minded and be prepared to compromise. If you enter the process with a rigid view, it’s unlikely that mediation will be successful. Put yourself in the shoes of the other party and consider the issue from both sides.
Mediation can be an invaluable tool in unlocking issues, if engaged with properly.