Mediation is fundamentally a negotiation, assisted by an independent third party.
In is a "human" process where those involved in a dispute are given an opportunity to find their own solutions to it, with the help of the neutral mediator. It is amazing how often that solution is one that an adversarial approach to the problem, with a narrow focus on legally defined issues, could not have produced.
Mediation is an effective, pragmatic and constructive process with high success – and satisfaction – rates. The participants retain complete control and ownership of the outcome. As mediator I bring to the table my skills in managing that process in the context of problems I have experience in helping to resolve. I have no decision making role.
The mediation process is private.
My role is to asisist in:
uncovering the real components of the problem and how they look to each participant
identifying options for each of the participants
generating and exploring ideas for getting over, around or through the problem
developing a solution which each of the participants can support
It is not my role to:
impose a solution
pressure any person into agreeing
make substantive decisions for the participants
give legal advice.
It is essential that the mediation involve persons with authority to commit to a settlement. I am comfortable working with those people directly or assisted by their lawyers or other representatives.
The process will generally involve my meeting with each of the participants to identify the nature of the problem, ensure it is one I can assist with and that those involved are comfortable with me as mediator. That initial meeting can also help identify some of the particular components of the problem and whether any information or external input would increase the prospects of an agreed outcome.
A mediation agreement would then usually be signed covering the process, confidentiality, costs and any other practical matters.
The mediation itself would then usually follow - in my experience parties should be prepared to set aside a 1/2 day to ensure there are no time pressures but time frames will form part of the pre-mediation discussion.
Mediation is a consensual process and (availabilty permitting) the process can be worked through as quickly as all participants agree.
If you think mediation might have value for you, I would be happy to disuss the process with you without obligation or charge.
I work within the Protocol for the Arbitrators and Mediators Insitute of New Zealand. Click here for a link to the Protocol