Mediation is a process in which a trained impartial person, called a Mediator, helps people in a dispute communicate, understand each other and reach agreement if possible. Mediation is voluntary, confidential and lets the people in the dispute decide what works best for them. The mediator is a facilitator and does not act as a judge. The mediator remains impartial throughout the process and will not give legal advice or make decisions about the dispute.
Mediation is an extremely cost effective option (see 'Cost and time' section under Benefits of Mediation). Mediators charge in a variety of ways (daily rate/ hourly rate/ flat rate) - VAT may be chargable on these fees. Mediators may charge for preparatory work as well as additional outlays such as hiring a venue/ travel costs. You may be required to pay in advance or before/after each session. Always ask for full details on costing before signing an Agreement to Mediate.
It is typical for the full mediation process from instigation to agreement to take place over a matter of a few weeks. Many disputes can be resolved in one or two mediation sessions. More complex disputes may take longer - mediation is flexible and will last as long as the process is useful and agreement is possible.
In many disputes it is effective for the parties to meet directly. Sometimes in commercial or personal disputes one or more parties do not wish to meet directly. The Mediation process can involve meeting directly or can involve the mediator meeting the parties separately. Mediation can also involve the parties communicating using an online platform or other non-direct means of communication.
No! Mediators are facilitators and will not tell the parties what to do. The Mediator manages the process and is an expert in encouraging positive communication between the parties so that they can arrive at their own resolution.
You don't. However the fact that a party has agreed to mediate, taken part in Mediation sessions and arrived at an agreement they assert they can live with usually provides considerable reassurance that they will stick to the agreement. The Mediation process can always be re-instigated to deal with any problems which arise. People are more likely to stick to arrangements they have agreed between themselves.
You may have written into the Mediation agreement what happens in situations where the terms are not adhered to. Arrangements are often reciprocal (if you do X, I will do Y) and therefore each side has something to lose by not adhering to the terms. The Mediation process can be re-instigated to deal with problems when they arise. Many agreements will take legally binding format and a court can therefore help ensure people stick to them. If an agreement breaks down or becomes unworkable you can always return to mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution are still open to the parties (for instance consulting a solicitor and considering legal options). Some Mediation Agreements will become part of a legal process and that process will deal with any refusal to adhere to the terms.
You can and should consult your solicitor before, during or after Mediation. In some disputes the parties will agree for solicitors to be present at the Mediation or at the end of the Mediation when the agreement is reached. This is not a requirement but something to be agreed between the parties.
This website has a fully developed database of mediators available in your area - use the search function on the right of the homepage to locate available mediators by area of expertise and location.
No! The mediator is not there on behalf of one or other party but equally on behalf of both. On occasion two mediators may work together - co-mediate. This can work particularly well if a case has multiple parties or is very complex. Both mediators will be impartial. It is also common for experienced mediators to have newly qualified or less experienced mediators observing or assisting them. This is one of the ways in which mediators learn their skills.
Mediation works in very many cases. If the parties come to the process in good faith and with a desire to resolve the matter it is likely that Mediation will facilitate an agreement. However there are a some situations where mediation is not appropriate, or, even if it is, it does not result in a resolution. When this happens all the other forms of dispute resolution (arbitration / litigation etc) are still available to the parties. You do not lose any other opportunity by trying Mediation first.
The MII accredits mediation training courses which meet set training standards.
The purpose of CPD is to ensure that Mediators keep their knowledge and skills up to date for the benefit of users of their service and for their own personal and professional development.