Mediation is, at its heart, a negotiation in the presence of an independent, non-judgmental third party. So why not just negotiate?
There is probably no logical reason why mediation should work, but it does. That probably just proves that we are all human and humans aren't always logical.
It might also be that most of us struggle to negotiate without unhelpful emotions clouding our judgment.
Expressing our arguments to a third party instead of the other side can help with that. At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter why it works so long as it does.
Mediation is more expensive than simple negotiation, but also more effective. It is much cheaper than going to court. Whilst going to court always produces
a resolution, mediation very often does. Whilst the resolution in court always ends up with a winner and a loser, the result of a mediation often leaves both sides feeling like they won.
Here's how it works:
- The parties both agree to mediation. This is a voluntary process so both sides have to agree.
Having said that, the courts sometimes penalise parties that fail unreasonably to give mediation a try.
- Next the parties have to agree on a mediator and a venue. In each case, given that both parties have to agree, the choice will be neutral.
Many mediators offer skills and experience not shared by judges that allow them to better understand the background to the dispute.
Many mediators have their own venue that is included in their fee for the mediation.
- On the appointed day, the parties meet with the mediator at the venue. It's not always necessary to have a solicitor with you, but it can certainly help.
We can advise on strategy and put across the arguments in a cold and, if necessary, cutting way. Many clients would rather not have to speak to the other side and with a solicitor
present, they don't have to. It is worth remembering that the mediator is not on your side even though they will want you to feel like they are. Your objective is to achieve a settlement
that is acceptable to you. Their objective is to achieve a settlement. That's not the same thing and having your solicitor there can help bridge that gap.
- The day normally starts with a plenary session where all are present. Each side puts forward its position (often based on written position statements exchanged before the day).
- The parties then, normally, retire to separate rooms and the mediator starts a process of shuttle diplomacy trying to find common ground for a settlement.
- If the parties settle, it also helps to have your solicitor there to write up a settlement agreement and get it signed then and there.
If it isn't, there is no guarantee that the parties won't have changed their minds by the next morning and all that time and expense will have been wasted.
If you are thinking of mediation, give BladeLaw a call. We can chat through your options. This won't cost you a thing.
If you feel mediation could help, we can work out the costs together and then you can decide if you feel it is worth it.