We prefer that you arrange the venue for your mediation meeting. That way you can talk to your conflict party about alternative locations, time and arrangements or make changes if necessary. You can also make arrangements for parking, refreshments and so on. Make sure that the venue has the facilities you will need.
Number of rooms
Mediation at the time of separation in your private life is usually managed through one or more private meetings where both of you negotiate under the “meeting management” of the Mediator. If you follow the Court Service mediation procedure you will find that is what happens.
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 a party for a short time – even if the space provided is somewhat sparse.
However, mediation of most other types of dispute involve the Mediator “shuttling” between the conflict parties in a series of what are called “caucus” meetings. That is to say the Mediator speaks to you separately and in turn. That process works well only when the total time allocated for the mediation is a full day – or not much less.
The benefits of multiple meetings are:
- We offer a special arrangement whereby you can book two or even three x 3 hour meetings, then cancel subsequent meetings if you find you don’t need them.
- This is a stressful time of your life. Most people have simply “had enough” discussion with an ex-partner after three hours.
- Often, the mediation process throws up a requirement for particular information or more documents than have been made available. A ready-booked second meeting enables that information to be provided, without a long delay which could lose the impulsion built up in the first meeting.
- It is easier to arrange a three hour venue at a low cost than it is to arrange for a longer one.
Only you can decide whether you are happy to talk together for three hours – or even more. If yes, then you need one room. If no, then at least two rooms.
A mediation can take place anywhere convenient to the parties. Considerations are:
- The Mediator is happy to attend your home, or that of a close friend or relative. If all else fails, the Mediator offers his own home at Hethersett, not far from the junction of the A11 and the A47. (Please note however that the Mediator is presently “between houses”).
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.
The office of your solicitor
If you have appointed solicitors then one of their offices is an ideal location. This is likely to be free of charge but you will need to check after-hours availability. You may wish to know more about when to use a solicitor.
Serviced office centres
These provide an ideal location but you may find them expensive. Prices vary between £120 a day and £350 a day. The best source we have found is ZipQube.com, who are intermediaries.
Norfolk County Council
NCC, and most other county councils, 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. We assume “private use” would include issues relating to divorce, separation, family affairs and so on. Their limited opening hours may be an issue.
An email or email-teleconference mediation could lead to a specific, allocated time and date when both parties and the Mediator will be available to communicate, each from his own location. However, we strongly recommend that even if most of the negotiations take place via telephone and email, (all of which will of course be via the Mediator) settlement is far more likely to be satisfactory to both parties if a final meeting takes place face-to-face.
Other administrative points
- If your conflict is such that you prefer that The Mediator should make the appropriate arrangements, we shall be happy to do so for an additional fee of £150 plus VAT plus of course the cost of the venue. These costs will be payable in advance of the mediation meeting.
- If either party wishes to change the date of the meeting it is important that you first change the date in The Mediator's diary.
Criteria for venue
Essential criteria are:
- adequate car parking available no more than a short walk from the venue.
- adequate light and ventilation. A hotel room in particular can be most uncomfortable after two or three hours.
- drinking water available throughout;
- toilet facilities available without a long hike;
- a long time seated? Chairs need to be comfortable;
- access for the Mediator at least 15 minutes before the appointed time;
- availability of some person attached to the venue to act as a contact point;
- availability of whatever hardware you might require, including extension cables, hubs and so on.
- Ability to extend booked time period into an evening. There is nothing more exasperating than to be interrupted at 5 PM with a request to terminate the meeting.