Choosing the venue for your mediation

It is usual for the conflict-parties to arrange the venue for a mediation rather than leave it to the mediator’s staff. Nonetheless, if you have difficulty in agreeing the venue or you are very far apart (in different countries?) then certainly we will make the appropriate arrangements. It is most efficient if the meeting is arranged by you because:

  • you will have a good idea of suitable locations which could be convenient to both parties, and possibly to the Mediator too, reducing the Mediator’s chargeable travel time;
  • you can more easily personalise your arrangements then we can;
  • you can choose your budget and other standards from the outset;
  • the Mediator covers a wide area of the country so simply does not know perfect venues in every town. In any event, we do not think it is appropriate to suggest that both participants will feel comfortable in any particular venue. Despite that, the Mediator’s office in Bury St Edmunds can usually provide extremely efficient meeting rooms at a reasonable cost.

When you arrange your mediation venue, here are some of the points you should consider.

Points to consider

  • Two or three rooms

We need one room large enough for all to get together with the Mediator at the start and finish, plus a second room for one party to retire to, leaving the larger room for the other party. You may feel the process is more egalitarian if you arrange for three rooms rather than two. We try to avoid adjacent rooms unless we are confident of the quality of sound insulation.

  • Closing time

We mention this first and last. It is essential that you consider the time you might need. Mediation participants invariably under-estimate the time requirement. We know of many possible locations but very few are perfect. The criterion which cuts the choice by 90% immediately is to find a place where we can stay into the evening. It can be disastrous at the end of the day when venue staff are leaving at 5 o’clock and we need another hour or more.

  • Help us to help you

If you are stuck, you could always have a look at ZipQube.com, who are intermediaries.

  • City, county and district councils

Most local authorities let out meeting rooms by the hour or by the day in multiple locations. Most are library rooms. (A very substantial price discount is given for private use.) Their limited opening hours may be an issue.

  • For a workplace dispute?

A workplace dispute is usually mediated at the employers premises. However, disputes both between employees and between the employer and employee, can often be sensitive sufficiently sensitive as to require a venue which is specifically not the place of employment. Either way, the Mediator must be able to speak confidentially and separately to each party. That means you need one room large enough for all to get together with the Mediator at start and finish, plus a second room for one party to retire to, leaving the larger room for the other party. As we mentioned above, rooms should not be adjacent unless you are confident of the quality of sound insulation.

  • Consumer-provider disputes

If the dispute is between a corporate provider or professional person on the one hand and a consumer or employee on the other then the Mediator will accept the corporate party's premises as a venue, provided the “consumer” party agrees and two rooms are available.

  • Family affairs

Other disputes relating to personal family affairs, for example  wills, probate and disputes relating to family business including  corporate and boardroom issues and many others can be mediated in a single room, provided both parties are completely happy to stay together throughout the meeting. That means no party will be able to speak privately with the mediator. However, it is still useful for the Mediator to be able to talk privately to each party – even if the space provided is somewhat sparse.

  • On site

Most construction, land and boundary disputes require a site meeting, so that the Mediator can better understand the details of the dispute. It is preferable for this to take place separately from an indoor mediation meeting which might follow a day or two later.

If your dispute is between neighbours, the same considerations apply, except that it should be possible for the mediator to discuss the problem with the parties on site and then retire to the home of one or the other to conduct the mediation meeting comfortably. Alternatively, you could arrange a meeting on neutral ground, for example at a local public house or hotel.

  • Online mediation

An email or email-teleconference mediation will finish with a specific, allocated time and date when both parties and the Mediator will be available to communicate, each from his own location.

Travel and subsistence

For a full day mediation Andrew Taylor is likely to be willing to travel to most parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex.

Travel time is charged separately, after the event.

By car, from Wymondham, time and cost:

For a full day mediation:           first 60 miles each way free

For a 4-hour mediation:            first 40 miles each way free

For a 2- or 3-hour mediation:    first 20 miles each way free

After 40 miles, time and cost:    £1.50 per mile

By train: cost of fare plus taxi plus time at £60 per hour

Over night: by arrangement