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Choosing a good mediator

  • HarryHarper
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15 Jun 11 #272999 by HarryHarper
Topic started by HarryHarper
Whilst I am looking for mediator, I have found the conversations on here very useful.

I understand that the difference a 'good' mediator can have is paramount. Each mediator is going to be different, in the approach and in their process. It's a very personal meeting that can get highly charged.

There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of mediation services about, so choice seems limited. At the first meeting, it's obviously a chance for the mediator to get to know us, and our circumstances and for us to understand the process and get to know the mediator.

My question - what do you look for in a mediator? And, can you decide after that first meeting that they are not the right person for you, and change to another mediation service?

  • rubytuesday
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08 Jul 11 #276825 by rubytuesday
Reply from rubytuesday
Harry, Im sorry no one has replied to your post as yet.

I will do my best to explain more about mediation.

mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you, which is natural and inevitable, in a way that helps you to work together as parents after your divorce. Mediation tends to work well where the couple are still on talking terms and each party is willing and able to discuss the issue.

The mediator remains neutral between the husband and the wife. That means the mediator can't give advice to either party, and also can't act as a lawyer for either party. What the mediator can do, though, is to point out in open session to both spouses things that each of them should be aware of about what they're trying to accomplish. That open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both spouses are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both spouses.

mediation can stall or breakdown where there is a material disagreement over the facts, for example where wife believes husband has an off-shore bank account and he denies it. For this reason couples undergoing mediation should still complete the full disclosure process using form E.

One of the obvious benefits of mediation is that it is potentially much cheaper than engaging in a legal battle, costing a few hundred pounds rather than tens of thousands.

However, it does not eliminate the need for solicitors. In fact mediation works best where each party has the back-up of a solicitor. The solicitor can advise their client between mediation sessions and when agreement is reached the solicitor can put that agreement into a binding legal document called a Consent Order. The Consent Order will then be ratified by the court.

A "checklist" for when you are choosing a mediator, might look something like this -

* Look at a range of possible candidates, not just the first one you find or are offered by another party.

* Experience and background - look for expertise in the area of the dispute e.g. commercial, family, construction or personal injury, but remember that mediation skills are more important than technical ones.

* Look for accreditation or registration details, and that qualifications claimed are from a reputable training body.

* Does the Mediator follow a recognised Code of Conduct?

* Check the mediator has no conflict of interest. mediation organisations will check this as routine, but help them by giving full information about parties and representatives.

* Professional Indemnity Insurance - most mediators carry it but check. Is it enough to cover the dispute?

* Make sure you understand the mediator's style - remember the mediator will not make a decision, but will guide the parties to resolution. Most mediators in the UK are trained in 'facilitative' techniques, but some use evaluative or transformative ones also.

* Consider the fee - is it for the whole mediation or PER PARTY? Is the fee for a half day or a full day? Is VAT included or payable as well?

* Geographical considerations. Will the mediator travel? Will travelling costs add to the fee?

Does the mediator, the organisation or one of the parties have suitable rooms available, or will the parties have to pay to hire accommodation?

* Will the other parties agree to this mediator? Expain why you consider the mediator to be appropriate (if you just suggest the name they may well reject on principle and suggest someone else.) Consider allowing the mediation organisation to make the suggestion instead.

* Contact the Mediator or the organiser to discuss all or any of this.

If you dont gel with the current mediator, it is possible to change to another mediation service - if possible, arrange a short meeting or conversation with the potential new mediator to see if he or she is the one for you.

Hope this helps :)

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