On The Day

How Does Mediation Work?

On the day of a traditional commercial mediation the parties and their representatives assemble, each in separate rooms. I hold an introductory meeting with each party, explaining what will happen on the day and answer any questions about the process.

The First Joint Meeting

Following the introductory meetings, the  joint opening meeting takes place. This is attended by all the parties and their representatives.

This is a meeting which I chair and it is an opportunity for the parties to meet each other. Sometimes the parties do not know each other, for example in most road traffic accident cases. Sometimes the parties are well acquainted or related. But whatever their relationship, the joint opening meeting brings some humanity to the process and is an opportunity for me to remind the parties that their focus for the day should be to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.  The parties  usually wish to briefly state their cases and to highlight any particular aspects of the dispute which are of concern to them.

The joint meeting runs for as long as it proves to be a useful forum, after which the parties return to their respective rooms.

What Happens Next?

I then speak again separately to each of the parties, reviewing the state of the dispute in the light of the joint opening meeting and thereafter I shuttle between the parties’ rooms, doing what I can to narrow the issues of the dispute.

If appropriate, during the course of the day the parties may meet again – sometimes everyone, as at the joint opening meeting, sometimes just the lawyers, and occasionally just the parties themselves.

I chair all these meetings.

reaching a settlement

Most mediations are resolved in one day unless the dispute is extremely complicated. In the vast majority of disputes, a settlement is achieved.

Even if settlement is not reached, the day is invariably useful for perhaps agreeing some aspects of the dispute or clearly identifying those aspects that remain unresolved. Often the parties will reflect on what happened at the mediation and the dispute settles very shortly thereafter.

What passes between the parties on the day remains confidential, as can the terms of the settlement (unlike the judgment of a court, which is a matter of public record).


An on-line mediation is conducted using Zoom, an  applicatication that enables parties who are remotely situated to come together. All that is required is for  participants to have access to a PC or laptop (in exceptional circumstances a telephone or mobile phone can also be used though that means that there is no visual connection to the mediation). The parties to an on-line mediation participate in the same way as they would in a traditional mediation, it is just that they appear on a screen rather than in person. The joint opening meeting is conducted by the mediator in just the same way as if all the participants were sitting together – they can see each and speak to each other. When the joint opening meeting has concluded, the parties and their representatives return to their electronic “rooms”. Confidentiality is maintained by no-one (other than the mediator) having access to these electronic rooms. During the course of the mediation the mediator communicates with the parties in their rooms.


The format of a workplace mediation depends on the nature of the problem to be resolved.

If the problem involves teams or individuals who are not working together as well as they could be, then I will meet with them on site.

If  the employer/employee relationship is coming to an end or has ended and there are proceedings in the Employment Tribunal, then the mediation will take place off site and the format will follow more closely that of a commercial mediation.

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