What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The mediator is a neutral party and facilitates negotiations towards a settlement, agreed by the disputing parties.
How is mediation different to going to court?
In a court, the Judge decides the outcome of the dispute. There are also court costs, which are independent of the settlement costs, of financial disputes.
Is a mediator a lawyer?
Some mediators are also lawyers, but the role of a mediator is different to that of a lawyer. Mediators do not give legal advice during mediation.
Do you need to have a solicitor to go into mediation?
No. Participants may already have instructed a legal representative and may choose to bring them to the mediation. Legal fees are additional to mediation fees.
Do the courts insist on mediation prior to the case being heard in court?
This is usually the case in the family courts. In civil and commercial disputes, the courts may require the parties to try mediation. In any case they like to see that there have been attempts to resolve the dispute prior to it being heard in court.
What is a mediation settlement agreement?
A settlement agreement is drawn up at the end of the mediation if both parties have come to an agreement. It will provide a summary of the dispute and the terms of the agreement. This will include any sums to be paid to either party and the conditions attached, such as how and when the payments will be made.
Is a mediation settlement legally binding?
Yes, but only when both parties have signed the settlement agreement.
What does without prejudice mean?
In mediation it means that any information, written or verbal, cannot be shared or shown in court unless ordered by a judge. Neither party can be advantaged or disadvantaged by the information gained from mediation. It also means the mediator cannot be called as part of court proceedings.
Is mediation expensive?
The mediation process itself is relatively inexpensive compared to solicitor fees and court costs. See fees.
When is the right time to mediate?
There is no right time as such. However, it is more economical for the disputing parties to try mediation before legal fees start to build up. This may be before or after instructing a solicitor.
What happens in a mediation?
Prior to the mediation, both parties will have signed a mediation agreement. A date and time will be set. In face to face or on-line mediations, the mediator will start with a joint opening session, unless this is not agreeable to both participants. During the mediation the mediator will break out into private sessions with each party. The mediator will only share information discussed if the party agrees to it being shared. By the end of the process, if the parties have reached a common ground upon which to settle, an agreement is drawn up and signed.