What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which the participants, with the support of the mediator, identify issues, develop options, consider alternatives and make decisions about future actions and outcomes. The mediator acts as a third party to support participants to reach their own decision.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Mediation is quicker, less expensive and less stressful than litigation
- Mediation process is flexible and can be adjusted according to the needs of the parties
- Mediation is usually a voluntary negotiation process with the purpose of resolving conflicts rather than debating legal issues
- Solutions are based on the needs and interests of the parties involved and may result in outcomes not available through litigation
- The parties are active in the process and are able to express their feelings, frustrations, needs and interests and to hear those of the opposing party. This enables the parties to address all issues associated with the dispute
- Because the parties find their own solution to the dispute they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome compared to an imposed solution by the Court
- The mediation process is not adversarial and, as a result, helps to maintain and even restore relationships for the future.
What is the mediation process?
Mediation is a flexible process that can be adapted to suit the parties and the circumstances. The model (below) gives you an idea of the process.
Is mediation confidential?
Yes. The mediation is held in private sessions and is not open to the public. All parties involved in mediation are subject to a confidentiality agreement. Unless otherwise required by law, the details and discussions from the mediation cannot be given later as evidence in any ensuing Court proceeding. Private discussions held with the mediator by one of the parties during the mediation are also confidential. Apart from any actual agreement reached during mediation no records are kept for future use.
What is the role of the mediator?
The mediator is a neutral third party who does not tell you what to do, provide advice or make decisions. The role of the mediator is to manage and facilitate the communication, negotiation and decision-making processes between the disputing parties and to use his/her skills to assist the parties to explore the issues in depth and reach the best possible outcome for the given circumstances.
Are mediators qualified?
Yes. Joe Dancevic is a trained and accredited mediator with relevant skills and experience. He is accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation Standards (NMAS) and must comply with the NMAS Practice Standards. Joe is also a Professional Member of the Resolution Institute and must adhere to the Resolution Institute Ethical Standards. Accredited mediators must also attend seminars regularly and continually update their skills by attending a minimum number of hours of professional development each year.
Who should attend the mediation? My lawyer?
All parties to the dispute must attend the mediation. You can arrange for your legal representatives or a support person to also attend the mediation with you. Details of who will attend the mediation will be discussed and agreed during the pre-mediation meeting. The roles of participants in the mediation will be clarified at the start of the mediation. A support person should not participate in the mediation.
As the parties involved in the dispute are actively involved in the mediation process, legal representation is not necessary at a voluntary mediation. However both parties may want to have their professional advisors present if either the dispute or the solution is complex, or they feel more comfortable with some legal representation.
What is the cost of the mediation?
The cost of mediation varies and depends on a number of factors including the time required to complete the mediation, any travel involved, etc.. The cost will be estimated and agreed upon before the mediation commenced.
Who pays for the mediation?
The cost of the mediation is normally shared equally between all the parties. Each party usually pays their share of the expected cost of the mediation prior to the start of the mediation process and each party pays for all their own costs associated with participating in the mediation. At the conclusion of the mediation we will either invoice the parties for any shortfall or refund them any excess payment.
Why do we need to pay in advance?
Payment in advance by both parties is standard practice for mediations as it enables the mediator to obtain the commitment of both parties to participate in the mediation process. It also ensures that both parties have a vested interest in a successful and timely conclusion to the mediation process.
Where does the mediation take place?
The time and place for the mediation is dependant upon the nature of the dispute. They can be conducted at a suitable neutral venue or at a suitable location agreed to by all parties during the pre-mediation meeting. Mediation requires a meeting room large enough for all participants to sit around a large table during the mediation. Each party also needs to have its own separate room for private discussions.
How do I prepare for mediation?
Mediation is a continuation of your previous negotiation efforts but using a more structured process with a neutral mediator. To prepare for mediation and enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome if its wise to:
- Familiarise yourself with the mediation process
- Trust the mediator and the process. The mediator is neutral and mediation produces a high success rate
- Know the facts
- Be prepared to identify and address the emotional issues associated with the dispute
- Be prepared to listen to the other parties
- Be open minded, rational and objective
- Consider all your options. Decide what would be the best outcome, worst outcome and the outcomes you can live with
- Parties reach their own agreements so be prepared to make smart or wise decisions
- Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your own arguments and options and those most likely to be presented by the other parties
- Consider the implications of not reaching agreement during the mediation process
- Prior to the mediation you should consult with any advisors and fully understand all the legal aspects of your dispute
- Determine how much your dispute has cost you to date, and what the costs will be if you have to go all the way to trial, and what the possible outcomes of the trail could be