for individuals thinking about trying mediation.
I’m thinking of entering into Mediation – what can I expect?
What is mediation?
Mediation is a way of helping you to resolve a dispute without the stress and potential cost of legal action. It helps you to reach an outcome which is suitable to all parties involved. A qualified and experienced mediator/s takes you step by step through a process which helps you to identify the outcome you would like to achieve and to communicate your needs to the individual/s with whom you are in conflict. By the end of the mediation most cases end with a written agreement that reflects the needs of all parties involved.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- The process is private and confidential, only what is agreed by the parties involved will be shared with the other parties or the referrer.
- Mediators are independent and non-judgmental, therefore they do not take sides and do not decide who is right or wrong.
- Mediation is voluntary, you can withdraw from the process at any stage.
- Any outcome reached is agreed only by the parties involved and should reflect a solution that meets the needs of all involved.
Why might I need mediation?
Mediation can help with a range of disputes, including:
- Civil matters, including property and boundary disputes; rent, leases, service charges; debts; personal injury; professional negligence; public service issues (education, health, planning, etc.); probate matters.
- Commercial matters, including contractual matters, including between firms, franchises, house extension/renovation work, car repair/renovation, etc.; consumer protection, including defective and sub-standard goods and services (including holiday matters); intellectual property and copyright; company management; insolvency; loans and credit agreements; etc.
- Family matters, including financial arrangements,: property arrangements; arrangements for children, including custody, unsupervised or supervised contact and abduction (including international); inheritance matters.
- Workplace and Employment matters, including interpersonal workplace disputes at all levels, from Board Members to the shop-floor; team/group behaviour matters; severance arrangements; wrongful dismissal claims; equality, all types of discrimination, harassment and bullying problems; breaches of/compliance with terms and conditions; change management arrangements.
- Community Matters, including:
- A dispute with a neighbour, whether this be a noise disturbance, nuisance from pets, boundary dispute or harassment.
- Experiencing anti-social behaviour within the community.
- Discrimination disputes between groups or individuals such as complaints made against an authority based on perceived differences in the provision of housing, education or social services.
- Victim and offender mediation – whereby the victim or perpetrator of a crime (and /or other affected parties) wishes to find peace through an open dialogue which allows thoughts and feelings to be heard, understanding of the consequences of actions and for opportunities for apology and/or forgiveness.
- Parent-young people disputes; at home a breakdown in communication and lack of understanding of differing needs and lifestyles threatens the long term relationship within the family unit.
- Bullying; whether this be within the community or experienced by a young person or child within a school, mediation offers the opportunity for an independent organisation to assist reconciliation.
What happens during the process of mediation?
The mediator/s will contact you to explain the process and arrange a meeting. They will do the same with the person/s with whom you are in dispute. Everyone who agrees to the mediation going ahead will sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ form, ensuring they fully understand the mediation process.
On a date agreed with all parties you will have a one to one confidential meeting with the mediator/s, which lasts for around 30 to 40 minutes. This will be at a suitable venue, arranged by the referrer and/or mediation service. This meeting allows you to explain the dispute from your perspective and the mediator/s will help you to start thinking about how you would like the outcome to be.
Once the mediator/s have met with both parties and agree to proceed, there will be a joint meeting between all parties. This may last from around 1 to 3 hours and is managed and facilitated by the mediator. This meeting includes an equal amount of ‘uninterrupted time’ for both parties which leads into an exchange based on the issues that have been raised. The mediator/s will set ground rules and manage the discussion to ensure the meeting is productive. Through these discussions a written agreement will be drafted based on the solution(s) reached.
After the mediation, the mediator/s will follow up with both parties over the telephone to ensure that the agreement is still working.
To see a diagram of the process, please click here.
Who pays for the mediation?
The costs of civil and commercial mediation are usually shared equally between the parties.
The cost of family mediation is covered by Legal Aid for qualifying individuals but is otherwise split between the participants in proportions agreed between them.
The cost of workplace mediation is usually paid by the employer and for employment mediation is usually split between the participants either equally or in proportions agreed between them.
For community mediation, if you have been referred to mediation through a local authority, that organisation will cover the cost of the mediation. If you are seeking mediation independently, please contact us to help you find out how you can be referred.
Who are the mediators?
The mediators are qualified and experienced professionals who are trained to manage disputes and assist positive outcomes.
To find out more about our mediators, please click here.
Do I have to come to mediation on my own?
For civil, commercial and workplace mediations, people often like to be accompanied by a legal or trade union representative, or a supporting colleague/spouse. For family mediation, the participants usually attend unaccompanied. For community mediation you are welcome to bring a ‘silent support’ to the meetings with you, however this person cannot enter into the joint meeting discussions.
Attendees will often come unaccompanied but have a lawyer, TU representative, higher management representatives or a spouse/colleague available to provide advice over the telephone if required.
In the interest of avoiding an imbalance of power (two people against one), if you wish to bring someone with you, the mediator/s will offer the other party the opportunity to also have someone to accompany them to the meetings.
Do I have to meet the other person face to face?
It is possible for the mediator the carry out ‘shuttle mediation’, where the parties involved remain in different rooms and the mediators shuttle between the two passing on agreed information only and helping parties to reach an agreement through diplomacy and negotiation. Although it is challenging and uncomfortable to meet face to face, it normally leads to greater understanding and a greater chance of a long lasting resolution.