The MII does not suggest mediation rates to its Members, nor does it have access to this information. It is up to each individual Mediator to agree their charges and method of payment with the parties at the start of the mediation process. The MII strongly recommends however, that when selecting a Mediator, you talk to at least two Mediators and, apart from satisfying yourself that the particular Mediator has the experience and expertise to act in your case, you should ask them about their charges – both the applicable rates and payment terms.
There are many variables which may dictate how a Mediator sets their rates and payment methods and the following information outlines some of the considerations and approaches a Mediator may take with respect to fees and charges.
Mediation generally involves three stages:
Not all mediations go through all of these stages – each mediation is different depending on the parties, the nature of the dispute, and the Mediator’s approach.
Mediators charge in any number of ways. Some charge on a time basis, some on a flat fee basis and some on a combination of both. Some Mediators require payment up front, some invoice on a regular basis and some charge all at the end of the mediation. Some include preparation and work done prior to the day of the actual mediation in their flat fee charge and some don’t. Some Mediators always use the same rate and others change the rate depending on the complexity and/value of the case.
It is important that you establish in advance how the fees are charged, what the rate is and how payment is to be made.
Where a Mediator charges on a time basis they will give an hourly rate (with or without VAT) and then charge pro-rata for all time spent on the mediation. So, for example, if they spend half an hour the charge will be half the hourly rate. Usually the time charged is for all the time spent by the Mediator in relation to the case – from the opening to the closing of the file. Time spent would usually include preparation time, pre-mediation meetings, travel time, correspondence, emails, phone calls, the mediation itself and any post mediation work done. Usually the charges are divided equally between the parties in the mediation and usually there is no allocation as to which party actually incurred the cost. So for example if the pre-mediation meeting with party A lasted for an hour and pre-mediation meeting with party B lasted for two hours both parties would be charged for an hour and a half. If the parties wish the costs to be divided in a different way then they should raise that with the Mediator. In some cases the costs are initially divided up as above but the parties agree to divide them differently during the mediation and there is a subsequent adjustment.
Some Mediators charge an increased hourly rate for time spent outside normal office hours and weekends.
Some Mediators work on a fixed cost basis – they charge for the mediation and include, in that charge, all pre- and post-mediation fees. They may charge the fee whether or not the mediation goes ahead. Some give a fixed number of hours for the fixed fee (eg two hours preparation and 4 hours mediation) and then charge per hour for time spent over that. This may be payable whether or not the mediation goes ahead.
Some Mediators charge preparation time on an hourly basis and charge a fixed minimum number of hours or half day for the mediation whether or not it goes ahead and then charge hourly rates for all further work.
Some Mediators charge the same rate no matter what the complexity, value of the matters at issue or number of parties and others vary the rate depending on those factors.
Some Mediators seek the payment of monies in advance of the mediation day itself – to include all work to date and a fixed numbers of hours for the mediation and then send a balancing fee note at the end of the mediation. Some don’t send a fee note until the end of the case. If the mediation is ongoing, as in separating couples, some Mediators charge at the end of each session and some send monthly fee notes.
If the Mediator is liable for VAT then the rate is 21.5% of the fees charged. VAT will also be payable on outlays.
This is usually payable for reasonable and/or agreed receipted expenditure – the most common outlays would be meeting rooms, couriered documents, travel and mileage. Normal postage would usually be included in the charge out rate or flat fee but registered letters would be charged as receipted outlay. Mileage should be agreed at a specific rate per kilometre/mile.