In this article, I explain the steps in a face-to-face mediation. This should be your first choice if you do not have specific reasons to use “online” mediation where no face-to-face meeting takes place.
Andrew Taylor, the Mediator, will apply the same professional impartiality, rules and procedures to every element of every mediation whether conducted online or primarily through a face-to-face meeting.
Our smooth administration process works by providing explanations of the next few steps at every stage. We never leave you in the dark.
Our mediation service starts when you have had a good look around our website and decided to move your mediation forward as fast as possible. You can provide us with very basic information about your dispute through our Request to Mediate form. When you have sent the form to us – and on every occasion when you communicate with us through our website – we follow-up with a comprehensive instruction/suggestion as to what happens next.
That opens up your own dashboard where all relevant information relating to your dispute will remain for you to check up on, at any time. There is absolutely no commitment on your part until the formal mediation agreement has been signed.
When we have received the basic information you have provided on that form, the Mediator will assess it then phone you personally and by appointment, to answer your questions about absolutely anything. In particular, the Mediator will discuss with you what sort of mediation you want and how many hours of his time you want to book. Read our advice on what time you might need.
In the meantime, we shall have written to you by email to explain the next steps and to give you general information. When you have had an opportunity to read a few more pages of our website and discuss appointment details with your conflict-party, we hope you will be ready to:
- order the service you want from our Mediation Services and Fees page;
- book a date for your mediation in the Mediator's Diary;
- accept the mediation agreement and pay the fee for the mediation service you have ordered.
Once you have paid, the Mediator is now working for you. He is available to you by phone day or night (well, almost!).
By now, you will have had the opportunity to use your “dashboard” to check up on the information you have given to us; decide whether you need to send any further documents. You might decide for example to send files confidentially to the Mediator to enable him either to better understand the dispute or because you wish to refer to them in the course of negotiations.
Next, the Mediator will ask each party to prepare a position statement. for you to use on the day of the mediation meeting.
This is also the time you should be talking to your conflict-party about a suitable venue and making appropriate arrangements.
From this point, we provide more detailed information about what happens on the day of your mediation
More useful information
The Mediator's role
The prime role of the Mediator takes place in the “caucus” meetings where he is talking to you one-to-one (with or without your solicitor or other people you want with you). The Mediator will “shuttle” between the participants, testing your assumptions, exploring your interests and sometimes acting as devil’s advocate to probe and challenge the assumptions you have made.
It is fundamental to the Mediator’s role that he will never pass information to the other or prefer one of you over the other. A consequence of this is that the Mediator will convey your messages to the other participant only through a written note you will have handed to him. That could be a proposal, a comment, a response to what the other participant has sent to you or request for information, or to provide information.
The reality of the shuttle process is that the Mediator will probably speak to each party separately not more than four or five times each. The Mediator will try to spend the same amount of time in caucus with each of you. However, please do not be surprised or concerned if it does not quite work out that way. It rarely does.
Assistance from a trusted third party
There is a term of the mediation agreement whereby you accept liability for any breach of confidentiality by a third party whom you choose to involve in the mediation process. Provided you are prepared to accept that heavy liability, there is nothing to prevent you from using the help of some third party to help you at any stage of the process, and in particular to support and accompany you through the mediation meeting.
When you are booking the time you need, it’s a good idea to remember that each extra person you bring to the mediation meeting will extend the process – possibly excessively!
(The question of assistance from your barrister or solicitor is covered more fully elsewhere.
If you have instructed a solicitor, you may wish to discuss your case with him/her, either under an arrangement for him/her to be available at the end of the phone should you need help, or alternatively to be present throughout the mediation meeting. The Mediator will have no problem with the presence of your solicitor who may speak on your behalf as appropriate.
When the mediator is aware that both participants have instructed solicitors, he may well talk to them on the phone, or even arrange a meeting with them together, to discuss your respective cases and seek out what common ground there may be.
Conversely, if you have not yet reached the point where you have instructed your solicitor you may like to read our broad explanation of the best way to instruct him/her.
That explanation takes the process up to the point of what happens on the day.