What is a mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. A mediator encourages discussions between the parties in an attempt to resolve a dispute. It can provide a swift and cost efficient resolution to disputes.
What is the role of the mediator?
A mediator is a neutral third party. They are often former solicitors or barristers. The mediator’s role will be to encourage settlement discussions between the parties. The mediator will generally spend time with one party before moving into the other party’s room. The mediator will try to narrow the issues between the parties with a view to reaching a settlement. The mediator does not act as a legal advisor to one side.
How flexible is mediation?
Mediation differs from court proceedings as the parties are in control. Parties have an active role in the outcome of the dispute, rather than a decision made by a judge. Both parties can choose the mediator and can have a level of control about how the mediation process will be run. Mediation can also take place at any time, even if court proceedings have been initiated. This structure can help to assist in preserving commercial relationships between parties.
Are discussions confidential?
Yes, if mediation does not lead to a resolution, any discussions held during the mediation cannot later be referred to outside of it.
What happens if an agreement is reached?
A settlement agreement will be signed which is binding and legally enforceable.
What happens if an agreement is not reached?
If agreement cannot be reached, the mediation will come to an end. Whilst mediation will generally be listed for either a half-day or full-day, parties can leave at any time. Attempting mediation does not restrict parties’ ability to issue court proceedings.
What happens before a mediation?
A bundle of documents will usually be sent to the mediator ahead of the mediation with a position statement from each party.
What happens during a mediation?
The mediator will spend time with each party, separately, discussing their position/version of events. The mediator will ask the parties what they are hoping to get out of the mediation and what they are prepared to do to settle the dispute. The mediator will move between the rooms to see if any common ground can be reached and the issues can be narrowed. As the mediation progresses, the mediator will drive the parties towards a settlement, if possible. The mediator may also bring all of the parties into one room if appropriate. If an agreement is reached, a legally binding settlement agreement will be drawn up and approved by the mediator.
Can I attend mediation without a solicitor?
There is no requirement for the parties to be legally represented. However, you may not fully appreciate the agreement that you are signing up to, or it might not be in your best interests to do so. It is therefore advisable to instruct a solicitor, to ensure that you maximise your chances of reaching a settlement.