Mediation can take a number of forms, but at its core it is a process, guided by a neutral facilitator, that allows parties in dispute to have an open, frank and productive discussion, and to work towards a mutually beneficial solution to the conflict they are experiencing.
The role of a Conflict Management Help mediator is to help parties arrive at an outcome that meets the needs of all parties and all are happy to accept. Our mediators avoid taking sides, making judgments or giving legal advice; they are simply responsible for developing effective communication and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to all involved.
Central to mediation is the concept of “informed consent.” So long as participants understand the nature of a contemplated mediation process and consent to participate in it, a broad range of mediation processes are possible. This allows mediations to be a flexible process, which can be tailored to the needs of the parties.
Mediation is confidential, voluntary, and will only take place if both parties agree. In mediation, the contents of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation itself.
If parties are unable to reach agreement, they can still go to court, and details about what went on at the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing. Although it varies based on the type of dispute, the vast majority of matters (more than 80%) do settle at mediation. Even for those that don’t settle, there is often agreement on some of the issues in dispute, which narrows the scope of any further proceedings, saving both time and money.
All parties share the cost of mediation, which will usually depend on the value and complexity of the claim.
What to Expect:
Whether online or in person, the mediation process at Conflict Management Help is significantly flexible, but generally includes certain common aspects or steps. Usually, the mediator, once appointed, will have some preliminary discussion with each side or, particularly if the parties are represented by counsel, will be provided with a mediation brief from each party, which they also exchange with each other.
At the outset of a mediation, the mediator will generally go over the Agreement to Mediate and have it signed by everyone involved. Then, after explaining a bit about the process and the mediator’s role, typically, and where practical, the parties each get an opportunity to explain their perspective on the main issues. The mediator may ask some clarifying questions as they go along, but generally each party has an opportunity to explain their perspective without significant interruption.
From that point on, every mediation is somewhat different but will usually include:
Periods of exchanging clarifying information between the involved parties. This can help to get to the root of the main issues, making the entire process run smoothly.
A process where the mediator meets with each party separately to discuss issues that arise or how they might respond to something revealed or proposed by the other side.
Exchanging of offers
This may be done either face-to-face or through the mediator shuttling between caucuses and often involves a combination of these two processes.
Writing up the Agreement
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will assist the parties in drafting a Settlement Agreement or Minutes of Settlement, depending on several factors.