Online mediation: getting started

The online process emerges

Please do not be concerned about our use of the word “online”. This does not involve putting you through an electronic “sausage machine”. What is more, we assure you that the Mediator is not an electronic whizz kid on the tools we use are very basic.

As far as reasonably possible, our online process follows the same philosophy and procedures as a traditional process terminating with the mediation meeting. There are several particular advantages of using the online mediation process.

In theory, working online should be incredibly flexible. There is no reason why email messages should not be carefully crafted for you to “sleep on it” before making a final decision. You could alternatively decide to talk to your solicitor or co-directors are close relatives before you decide whether or not to increase your offer or accept the offer put forward by your conflict-party.

Unfortunately, our experience is that this sort of flexibility fails to achieve a satisfactory resolution of your dispute. It is not far different from the way you have been negotiating over the previous six months or six years. If you want resolution, then the Mediator can help you only if we work together within a framework of concentrated effort for a day or half day – just as happens in the tried and tested face-to-face situation.

We make that work with a simple, but carefully orchestrated procedure, largely by email, where we guide and inform you through each preliminary stage. By the time the special day of the mediation comes up, both participants, and the Mediator, are ready to hit the ground running. We now describe that framework.

Quick summary of how online mediation works

  • Andrew R 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 as to what to do next.
  • Once you have registered and told us the bare bones about your dispute the Mediator will spend time assessing the information produced by both Participants, the history of your case, what you want to achieve through mediation and how that can best be done.
  • After this preliminary assessment he will then ring you to answer your questions, including:

whether you want a process which leads to a face-to-face meeting or the online process described in this page.

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; Of course, it will always be your choice as to how long you might need to book in the Mediator’s diary.

Any concern you might have about technical issues for online mediation.

  • You will need to discuss all this with your conflict-party as soon as ever possible. Here are alternative template letters you could use if you’re not sure how to approach this situation.
  • Assuming you choose the online process, by now we shall have given you email guidance through five simple steps:

Register at “Request to Mediate”

Order the service you want from our Mediation Fees page

Book a date for your mediation in the Mediator’s Diary

Pay the mediation fee via SagePay

Sign the mediation agreement online

  • All done! The Mediator is now working for you. He is available to you by phone day or night (well, almost!).

From this point, we provide more detailed information about what happens on the day of your online mediation

To move forward right now, get your conflict-party onside, then both register at

 “Request to Mediate”

If you are new to mediation, start by browsing a few pages of this site. Top of the pyramid is a general introduction to business mediation.

Further information

The Mediator’s role

Just as for a traditional face-to-face mediation meeting, the Mediator will shuttle between the participants, testing your assumptions, understanding your best interests and guiding you towards what you consider could be acceptable to the other participant.

It is essential that this process is packed into a comparatively short time frame. The Mediator will ensure that the process itself is not unduly rushed but it works best over an agreed timescale of between two and seven hours. If one or both participants require the process to be spread over a longer period, then provided a that is arranged in advance, it will present no problem.

We can also give you a few tips about using the online environment.

Assistance from a solicitor or barrister

The extent of legal advice you need in the course of an online mediation, is entirely a matter of your choice. Mediation is “negotiation with a referee”. Whether you would like your lawyer – or anyone else – to be sitting at your side during the online meeting, is entirely a matter for you.In caucus meetings, the Mediator is happy to talk to both you and your legal adviser. However, he will always want to be certain that his last words are with you so that he can be quite clear that whatever step you instruct is your own independent choice.

Your solicitor is drafting skills could be useful to you for drawing email messages to send to your conflict-party, as well as advising you from time to time. For the sake of openness, the Mediator will expect you to disclose in advance of the meeting whether or not your solicitor is likely to be at your side, so that he can be sure that your conflict-party has had the opportunity to make a similar decision.

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 liability, there is nothing to prevent you from using the help of some third party to give you a hand with any aspect of communication – or even just to stand by in case you have a problem, or to advise you in any other way.

Use email only for short messages between participants

In an online mediation, email may be used only while the Mediator is talking to you, for you to deliver messages to your conflict party. The up-side of email is that it gives you an opportunity for precision. You can make or reject an offer precisely.

Extended negotiation is sometimes useful

There is always a risk that when the participants are not present in the same room together, there is less psychological pressure to come to an agreement within the time allocated. The Mediator will use his best efforts to keep the process running without interruption. He cannot achieve that without 100% cooperation from the participants.

Nonetheless, there are situations where it is particularly helpful to use online mediation with the intention of accepting delays while third parties are consulted, messages carefully crafted and maybe translated into or from another language.

Extended negotiation may also be unavoidable in a situation where the dispute itself is still evolving. For example, in the course of any continuing construction or service contract (Buildings? Software? Insurance?) it may be impossible to specify that a dispute could be resolved in a specified time, or even in a number of meetings. When the parties do not find it convenient to get together physically for a series of mediation meetings, the Mediator will be happy to act as coordinator or chairman in arranging each step of the process.

Contact the Mediator now on

07907 964565

OR

Send a message to: action@TheMediator.co.uk