The key to a successful mediation process

5 Mar 2018

How successful is mediation?

In CEDR’s latest mediation audit (2016) it states that 86% of mediations resulted in a successful settlement.  67% of these were settlements that were agreed on the same day as the mediation, and 19% were settled after the mediation took place.

As mediation is generally significantly cheaper than other dispute resolution methods such as going to Court, it is easy to see why it’s becoming more and more popular amongst both businesses and individuals wishing to resolve a dispute.

However, in order to achieve a successful mediation, there are some key factors to keep in mind.  Here, our mediator Tim Bennett gives us his top tips to mediation success:

Be open to negotiation

An important difference between mediation and a court-imposed decision is that each party has more control over the outcome of a dispute when mediation is used.

This is because it is possible to negotiate during mediation, where the two disputing parties and a mediator work together to discuss ways to compromise as an alternative form of dispute resolution.

Going into mediation with the attitude that you want to reach a resolution and draw a line under the dispute is far more likely to result in a positive outcome than it would be if even one party is unwilling to negotiate.  The key here is to at least attempt mediation and to go into the process with an open mind – there may be ways to compromise that may not even have occurred to you before, such as deferred payments or the creation of a new agreement between both parties.

Be patient

Deciding when to approach mediation is important. Attempting this method too early on in a dispute is likely to involve heightened emotions, which leaves people less willing to negotiate and more willing to spend longer disputing their issues as it hasn’t yet cost them a great deal of time or money.

When the mediation itself does take place, it’s usually throughout an entire day.  This can be tedious, tense and time-consuming, especially when the mediator is speaking with the other party without you in the room.  It’s important to keep in mind that the time spent is not being wasted and that the quickest way for the entire process to come to an end is through a resolution.  Never leave a mediation early – it will be your own time and money that ends up being wasted.

Be prepared

Creating a written statement to send to the mediator in advance of your mediation session not only gives your mediator a good basis of understanding for your case; it is also an effective way to remind yourself of everything that has happened and when, as well as the effect it has had on you or your business.

Similarly, preparing an opening statement that clearly outlines your argument in the dispute will give you a strong basis for discussion and will allow you to put your side across to any representative for the other party to consider, particularly as their client is highly likely to have only relayed their version of events.

Be realistic

Every case has weaknesses and yours will be no exception.  Whether it’s a loophole in an agreement or a signature somewhere along the line, go through your case with a fine toothcomb, to identify your weaknesses as though you were the opposition. This will help you to prepare.

In the same vein, think about why the other side may be willing to resolve the dispute and any factors that they may concede to.  If you know that they might understand your side on a certain point, then make sure that this point is approached.

Overall, it’s crucial to understand that you’re unlikely to come away from a mediation with a settlement that is solely in your favour.  Mediation works best when there is an element of give and take, so have a realistic idea of what you would be happy to settle on.

Advice about the mediation process

For further information and advice about mediation for issues such as contested wills, commercial disputes or property disputes, contact our specialist mediators.

With decades of experience in resolving disputes, we can advise you about what the best and most realistic approach to mediation would be for your individual circumstances.

Call us at our offices in Leicester today on: 0800 63 41 777.

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