On The Day

How Does Mediation Work?

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

The First Joint Meeting

After 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 is proving a useful forum. When it is over, 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 complicted. In the vast majority of disputes, a settlement is achieved.

Even if settlement is not achieved, 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 after the mediation.

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).

WORKPLACE MEDIATION

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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