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What is mediation?

Mediation is a procedure in which the parties discuss their disputes with the assistance of a trained impartial third person who assists them in reaching a settlement. The dispute may either be pending in a court, or potentially a dispute which may be filed in court. The mediator is a facilitator who has no power to render a resolution to the conflict. The parties will fashion the solution as the mediator moves through the process.

When should I use mediation?

Mediation should be used when it appears that other than resorting to litigation or more formal practices your dispute cannot be resolved.

Do I have to mediate?

No! Mediation is a voluntary process, all in dispute need to agree to use it, you cannot be forced into mediation.

I want to mediate, but the other side do not, what can you do?

Wensum Mediation will use its best efforts to persuade the other party to agree to mediation by highlighting the benefits of the process, however as it is a voluntary process, parties cannot be forced to mediate.

Does mediation give a binding decision?

Yes, once an agreement has been reached and it has been put into writing (for commercial and civil disputes) it will usually be enshrined within a consent order if court proceedings have commenced, if they have not, the written agreement will be drawn up as a contract which is binding on the parties.

Can you provide legal advice?

We cannot and will not provide you with legal advice, as mediators we are independent.

Where do we mediate?

Most mediations take place at one of the parties, or their solicitor’s offices if they are legally represented. If the parties are unable to provide the venue, then Wensum Mediation will arrange the venue which will be easily accessible to all who are party to the dispute, the cost, of which will be equally shared by the parties. Various county courts across the UK provide rooms free of charge for mediation purposes, where the parties require a neutral venue and where possible we shall arrange for the venue to be a county court, thus providing a cost saving for the parties.

Remote video conference mediations, inevitably became far more popular during the Covid Pandemic. We believe, although not as effective as in-person, mediation lends its self very well to video conferencing. It also has obvious benefits, including cost (no room hire or travel expenditure) time (no need to spend time traveling too and fro the venue).

Do I have to face the other party?

Yes and no, we have found that it is very constructive to see parties together, it allows for better speed, accuracy, for a better flow and for dialogue to be established. Therefore at the start of the mediation we would prefer to see parties together for a brief meeting, just to explain the ground rules and so forth, if you have an objection to seeing the other party face to face, we won’t make you, and can undertake the mediation process by seeing you both separately.

What if court proceedings have been commenced?

Mediation can still be used even if court proceedings have been commenced, in most cases the court will stay proceedings to allow parties to mediate.

How much money and time can I save?

The earlier you decide to use mediation, the more likely you are to see an increased saving.

When is the mediation fee payable?

Mediation fees and any associated costs of the mediation, i.e. catering, room hire must all be paid upfront in one payment preferably, if need be, payment can be made in installments, however the total fee must be paid prior to the mediation taking place. Without the respective fees, the mediation shall not take place.

Who pays for the mediation?

The usual practice is for both/all parties who are in dispute to pay equally towards the mediation fee. Rarely, but sometimes, one party pays the whole mediation fee, where the others who are in dispute, refuse to, are unable to.

What happens during a typical mediation?

As mediation is a participant lead process, each mediation develops uniquely; however we have tried to give an outline of what to expect -

Initially the mediator will give an opening statement which will include pertinent information for the parties. It will begin with an introduction and do an ethics check and get the names of the parties and their representatives. Then, administrative matters are discussed: the Agreement to Mediate if not done in the initial contact phase, confidentiality of the proceedings. Next, the schedule for the conference and any future meetings are determined with breaks, lunch and additional rooms for private meetings. The process is described with a few simple rules of conduct: The parties will use common courtesy and allow each other to complete statements without interruption. All conversations and materials presented in the mediation session are confidential.

Position statement from each party. During this stage, each party will give an account of the facts and circumstances which lead to the dispute. Issues will be identified and summarised.

Private session/joint sessions. The parties, in separate sessions with the mediator, will identify areas of settlement. The mediator may summarise the results of the private sessions with each party and encourage options. A realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each party's own position will be the goal of this stage.

Negotiations and decision making by the parties will continue in private session or open sessions, until a settlement is reached; unless the mediator declares an impasse and ends the mediation or continues the mediation in a subsequent session.

Agreement Writing: The terms of any settlement will be written by the parties. If legal counsel is not present, the parties may elect to have the document reviewed by counsel and signed at a later date.

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