Civil Mediation FAQ's
Q. How does it help?
A. Mediation can help you avoid lengthy legal battles, save money and maintain or re-establish a relationship with a family member, former partner, friend, colleague, neighbour or faith community.
Mediation offers you a place where, supported by a qualified and experienced mediator, you can talk through and resolve the questions which have led to your disagreement.
Mediators help you gather relevant information, consider different options and reach an agreement.
Q. What happens?
A. The initial meeting, usually called an assessment meeting, is an opportunity for you to find out about mediation, and decide whether it is likely to help you. The mediator will discuss your situation with you, explain how mediation works and its likely cost, and give you the opportunity of asking any questions you may have. Participants usually meet the mediator separately for this first session.
If all parties agree, we will arrange for the mediation to begin at the next meeting. The mediator will manage this and any subsequent meetings by setting an agenda, identifying the relevant issues and facts, and helping you to consider the alternative ways of solving your dispute. He/she will help you to negotiate an agreement and will write up the arrangements in a formal Mediation Summary.
Q. What do mediators do?
A. The mediator's job is to act as an impartial third party and manage the mediation process, helping you to avoid unproductive arguments and find positive solutions to your problems. The mediator will use his /her knowledge, experience and skill to help you exchange information and ideas constructively. He /she will listen to the different points of view which are expressed, and identify the various options which may be available, and make suggestions so that you can come to a decision. The mediator will prepare a written Mediation Summary recording the outcome.
The mediator has no power to impose a decision or settlement on you. The responsibility for all decisions remains with you. The mediator will not give advice about the best option for any one individual, nor can the mediator protect your individual interests, but can give you legal information where this is needed to ensure you reach informed decisions.
Q. How do I know mediation is for me?
A. Mediation allows you to resolve disputes without the financial and emotional cost of going to Court or engaging in lengthy and contentious correspondence. It leaves you in control of the process and can enable you to resolve your difficulties more quickly that Court proceedings.
Mediation is voluntary and will only take place if those involved agree. It is confidential; your discussions are not disclosed to anyone outside the mediation meeting without your agreement.
In mediation you can discuss your underlying concerns, and make plans for the future. Mediation can address questions of communication, the anger and frustration that sometimes fuel personal disputes, and in cases relating to children, the parents’ concerns about their children.
You will have the opportunity of discussing all these questions at your initial assessment meeting and of considering alternative ways of resolving your problem.
Q. How long does it take?
A. Mediation is always much quicker than contested Court proceedings and generally quicker than negotiations through solicitors. The timing and speed of mediation is in the hands of the parties who agree with the mediator how often and at what intervals they are going to meet. Family mediations generally take between two and six sessions of an hour and a half. Other mediations can be dealt with at a single session, or in a series of shorter meetings over a period of days or weeks.
Your mediator will be happy to discuss the probable length of a mediation at the start of the process.
Q. Do I need a solicitor?
A. You do not have to be represented by a solicitor. However, we will encourage you to contact a solicitor during the mediation process if we feel you need legal advice.
When we prepare a written Mediation Summary, recording the outcome of your mediation we will suggest that you obtain advice from a solicitor. Your solicitors will use our Summary as the basis for the advice they give, and it will help them draft any necessary legal documents.
Q. What if we are unable to reach agreement?
A. If you are unable to reach agreement, you can still go to court. Details about what went on during the mediation cannot be disclosed or used at a court hearing, so you will not be disadvantaged by anything said or done in mediation. Nevertheless the discussions which you have had in mediation will have helped to clarify the issues which you will need to litigate, with the result that the litigation is likely to be resolved more quickly and at less cost.
Q. Can mediation help if we are in broad agreement about what we want to do?
A. Yes, family mediation offers a way of talking through the arrangements you want to make with a qualified mediator who has many years of experience of working with couples in your situation. The mediator will be able to:
provide you with information about the law and legal procedures;
draw your attention to points you may not have considered and help you discuss these;
offer support as you discuss the arrangements you want to make for your children;
save you time and money by preparing Mediation Summaries which will enable you to provide your solicitors with the information they will need to make your financial arrangements legally binding.
Q. Do I need to be represented in the mediation?
A. You do not have to be represented by a solicitor. You can come alone or with a friend or colleague. However, we will encourage you to contact a solicitor if we feel you need legal advice. In larger or more complicated cases clients will often attend mediation with their own legal and other professional advisers, and will have the opportunity of discussing the progress of the negotiations as the mediation progresses.
Church and Religion FAQ’s
Q. What sort of situations can be dealt with in mediation?
A. A wide variety of disputes can be resolved in mediation including:
Disagreements between members of ministry teams, lay people and clergy
Matters relating to church finances or administration
Disputes between groups within faith communities
Arguments about the renovation and reordering of church buildings
Questions about the approval of memorials in graveyards and cemeteries
Q. How will mediation take account of our faith perspective?
A. Nicholas has a degree in theology and 25 years’ experience of Christian ministry. He understands the importance of faith, and the significance it has in people’s lives. He also has experience of the pressures and conflicts that faith brings and the way in which differences can lead to conflict. He will listen to and take account of the different beliefs and opinions that are expressed in the mediation and help those involved to respond sympathetically to opinions which may differ from their own.
Wills & Inheritance FAQ’s
Q. How does it help?
A. Mediation can help you avoid lengthy legal battles, save money and preserve the estate or trust fund for the beneficiaries.
It can help maintain or re-establish better relationships within your family, and between the beneficiaries and executors or trustees.
Mediation offers you a place where, supported by a qualified and experienced mediator, you can talk through and sort out the questions which have led to your disagreement.It offers a flexible approach which can produce solutions which would not be available before the Court.
Mediators help you gather relevant information, consider different options, and reach an agreement.
The process is confidential and avoids the publicity that can be associated with contested litigation.
Q. How long does it take?
A. We will discuss the format and probable length of your mediation at the start of the process. The process is likely to be much quicker than alternatives such as going to Court or engaging in lengthy negotiations through solicitors.
At our initial meeting we will be able to consider whether we should try and resolve the matter in a single longer session or series of short meetings. We can also discuss where the meetings should take place and how the mediation should be structured.