The exact mediation process can change depending on the requirements of the civil and commercial mediation case, but the basic mediation procedure remains the same. All mediation sessions are overseen by an independent impartial mediator, whose role is to aid in the creation of a solution. This role is not to actively influence the parties or suggest an outcome, but to facilitate a way for both parties to find a place where they can compromise. When you enter the ADR mediation process, you should expect most mediations to follow this process:
- Before mediation begins, summaries of the case and documents relating to important aspects of the dispute will be exchanged between the parties. Copies of the summary and documents will also be given to the mediator overseeing the dispute resolution.
- The mediator will contact both parties as an initial discussion. The authority to settle will need to be ensured by each party and ideally that person with authority attend the mediation or be contactable during mediation.
- On the day of mediation, the mediator will first layout the mediation rules and establish the main reasons for the dispute in a joint meeting between all parties. In cases of a sensitive nature, or where parties don’t want a joint meeting, this initial discussion could be performed separately.
- It is then the mediator’s role to undertake private meetings, going between the two parties to establish where a possible solution may be found. This will cover where each party believes they have ground in the dispute, and works as a way of bringing the needs of each party into alignment.
- Once the mediator feels that enough ground has been covered by both parties, they may organise a second meeting where both parties can meet. The aim of this meeting will be to decide whether the parties are open to settling the dispute.
- If both parties decide that they can agree on a settlement, a contract can then be drawn up which covers the next steps that the parties will take together. This only becomes a legally binding contract when both parties sign it.
Mediation is one type of alternative dispute resolution. The mediation process can bring with it a successful outcome without the need to attend court.