What is the format of a mediation?
What is the format of a mediation? The process is entirely flexible and will depend on the mediator and the parties’ preferences. In general terms, it is preferable that position papers are exchanged in advance. Depending on what stage in the dispute the mediation takes place, it may be appropriate for the parties to agree to exchange relevant documents in advance. If possible, the parties and their legal representatives should meet the mediator themselves prior to the scheduled date of the mediation in order to assist the mediator identify the disputed key issues in advance.
On the day of the mediation usually there is a joint session at the beginning when the mediator brings the parties together in order to emphasize the ground rules and if agreed, to have opening presentations by each party. Often this can provide an opportunity for either party to articulate their own perspective of a dispute in their own terms and equally importantly, to hear the other party articulate their perspective. This presentation can be made by the party themselves and/or by their legal representative.
Thereafter, a mediator will usually meet privately with the parties in order to explore issues and possible areas of agreement and engage in a form of shuttle diplomacy. The mediator may propose further joint sessions or meetings between principals either with or without legal representatives. Ultimately, the objective is that the form of a resolution will come from the parties themselves to be formalized in a settlement agreement.
If it is not possible to resolve the issue at mediation, the mediator will typically offer their services to the parties for a period thereafter to facilitate any further discussions. This can be particularly useful if the parties have reached agreement on all but a few outstanding issues.
About the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator. He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment. He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.
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