At Josiah Hincks Mediation, we call our mediations Mediation Settlement Conferences. Steven Mather, an accredited mediator, firmly believes that the purpose of mediation is to reach a settlement and so emphasis is put on this early on in the session.
Before the mediation can happen, each party submits to the mediator a bundle of information/documents about the case, along with a mediation position statement summarising the case, why settlement has not been possible and how settlement might be achieved.
The actual process of the Mediation Settlement Conference will differ depending on the parties needs and willingness to meet. There are two types of sessions: private and joint. Private sessions are between one party (and their advisors) and the mediator. Joint sessions involve both parties at the same time. Sometimes mediations will start with a joint session and sometimes it will start with private sessions. There will be a mix of joint and private sessions throughout the day, as the mediator sees fit.
Mediations usually start with an exploration phase, where each party’s position is questioned, tested and considered. This phase gives each party the opportunity to ask questions of the other, to get them to explain (face to face) parts of their case that to date has been difficult to grasp and to narrow issues between the parties. The mediator’s role in private sessions is to confirm positions, question positions, normalise viewpoints, and seek to bring the parties closer together where possible.
After the exploration phase, there will usually be a negotiation phase. The parties will, on advice from their solicitors, look at making offers to settle. The power of mediation lies in the fact that it need not be a monetary settlement (although it usually is). Settlements can include things like apologies, public press releases, renegotiation of contracts, joint ventures, the restoration of relationships and much more besides.
After the negotiation phase will be the settlement phase. This is where both parties’ legal advisors will draft a binding settlement agreement based on the terms on which the parties have reached an agreement. This in itself can sometimes require mediating, so that each party walks away from the mediation knowing precisely what has been agreed.
Once a binding settlement agreement is signed by all parties, the matter is concluded. The parties’ solicitors will file the agreement (unless agreed to be confidential) at Court and the proceedings will come to an end.
To find out more about Josiah Hincks Mediation, please click the following links or download our eBook entitled “A Guide to Mediation”. Alternatively, feel free to contact Steven Mather, Accredited Mediator, on 0116 255 1811.