What is Mediation?

Mediation is a completely voluntary and confidential form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It is when an impartial person or mediator - trained in dealing with difficult discussions between two opposing sides - acts like a referee in a dispute. They will not make any decisions for you or impose an agreement, they will only help you to resolve the issues you have with the other party, by way of discussion. This means it is often a very successful way to come to an agreement, as you are the one in control, rather than a judge or an arbitrator. It is also the least stressful and certainly least costly way to resolve disputes.

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Choosing Mediation

What is the Mediation Process?

This can be different depending on the issue you have. Sometimes, particularly for low value disputes, it can be done over the phone. However, for higher value claims it will be necessary to have a face-to-face meeting. Usually there will be an initial session with both parties and the mediator, where the mediator describes the process and both parties can give their position statements (i.e. describe the situation from their point of view). Then the mediator will spend time with each party individually, confidentially discussing the way forward with them. The purpose of these conversations is to find areas of compromise, leading to an agreement that both parties find acceptable. Once this agreement has been reached, the parties will come back together to write up the terms of the agreement and sign it. It can then be taken to solicitors who can produce a formal and legally binding agreement, which can be confirmed by the court if required.

What type of disputes can Mediation be used for?

Mediation can be a useful form of dispute resolution for all types of issues from neighbour disputes, building disputes, debt recovery, to divorce, financial settlements and child arrangements to disputes with professionals such as solicitors or accountants or even multi-million pound civil contract disputes. Wherever there are two or more parties with a disagreement, mediation can help.

Do I have to use Mediation?

The court system has become more and more clogged up over the last decade and this has led the government to try to encourage people to use other ways to resolve their issues, rather than going to court.

In April 2011 they introduced a requirement for anyone wishing to apply for a Court Order linked to either children or their financial circumstances during a divorce or dissolution, to firstly undertake a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with a trained family mediator. When the Court is asked to issue an application for an Order in respect of children or with respect to finances, the person applying must produce a certificate (FM1) confirming they have attended a MIAM or show they are exempt from attending.

For all Civil cases, the court has not made it a requirement to attend mediation, but it has said there may be negative cost implications if an offer of mediation is refused or ignored. It’s therefore wise to at least consider it.

Why should I use Mediation?

At Routh Clarke we have experienced too many times, the frustrations clients feel when they enter the court system. The time delays can be extremely long and as a result the final hearing can sometimes leave them feeling deflated, even when they "win" their case! We believe mediation is a way to speed up the process and gives clients more of an input to the final results, rather than leaving it up to a judge, who has so many factors to weigh up when making the ultimate decision.

Often disputes are down to a misunderstanding and a breakdown in communication, so adding a solicitor and the prospect of court to the mix, can make the situation worse rather than better. This in turn means costs rise as people start being more difficult and more time is spent by solicitors and the courts in trying to resolve it and this leads to increased costs.

Mediation is all about communication and using an impartial person to help people resolve their disputes in a non-confrontational way. This should mean less stress for everyone involved and certainly less money being spent on resolving the dispute.

How much does Mediation cost?

This will vary from mediator to mediator, but will either be on an hourly or whole session rate, or it will be based on the financial level of the claim being made. To give a rough guide it could be from £50 + VAT per party for an hour’s session for a claim under £5,000, to £425 + VAT per party for 4 hours for a claim between £15,000 - £50,000.

How do I find a Mediator?

For family mediation, the only people who can undertake a MIAM and sign an FM1 form are mediators who have been accredited by the Family Mediation Council. To find the nearest family mediator to you, visit their website.

We have a civil trained mediator at Routh Clarke who is qualified to undertake all levels of Civil mediation. Lisa Routh has been the Practice Manager at Routh Clarke for over 6 years and has an understanding of many areas of law and how the court system works. Previously she headed up a global training company, managing teams in the US, India and Europe, so she has a vast wealth of business knowledge from years of managing people, finances, suppliers and contracts. She believes that good communication is key in all aspects of life and is vital to resolving disputes. Call us now on 01935 823883 to discuss how we can help you.

To discuss your options call us now on 01935 823883