Mediation is a voluntary, confidential and without prejudice process applied to the resolution of disputes and other problems between individuals, between individuals and businesses or between businesses.

As Mediation is such a powerful technique for resolving disputes of all types, it is something that we will often recommend to our litigation clients as a way of avoiding Court proceedings. However it is also a service that we can provide to others as Simon Gurr, one of the partners at Direction Law, is a qualified mediator.

The process of Mediation uses an independent mediator appointed jointly by the parties to try to broker a deal between them at a meeting. A high percentage, perhaps as high as 75%, of mediations settle on the day of the mediation or shortly afterwards.

The parties meet at a mutually convenient location and the mediator will usually hold an opening session, inviting each party to make a short opening statement. This is also a good opportunity to bring out any burning issues in a safe environment which is off the record. Next, there will normally be private sessions with each party, in order to start defining the issues that need to be tackled and the possible solutions.

The parties will need to engage fully in the process and make and respond to offers and counter-offers, as otherwise the process will bog down and become circular. Deadlock will often be encountered and sometimes appear intractable, but the mediator will have a range of techniques for dealing with such deadlock.

Assuming that the mediation is successful and the parties reach an agreement in principle, this will then need to be reflected in a written, binding agreement which will need to be drafted, usually by the parties lawyers. The settlement agreement will generally be stated to be confidential but the parties may wish to put out an agreed statement and provision can be made for this in the agreement.

Simon has worked in the commercial sector since 1987 and will look at the problems not just from a legal perspective but also with the practical eyes of someone who has found solutions for clients and parties which are not just win or lose. Do not be afraid to talk to Simon before you ask him for help as a mediator and see if his approach is one that you are happy with.