Common Questions - Mediation
Q. How much does mediation cost?
Our fees to conduct a mediation are set out on our website. The cost depends on the amount in dispute. Our costs are per party and inclusive of VAT.
Travel costs are only charged when our Mediator travels to a venue more than two hours (one way) from Norwich. These expenses are agreed at the time of booking the mediation and are paid jointly by the participants to the mediation.
Q. How quickly can mediation take place?
One of the benefits of mediation is that that the participants can agree when they want the mediation to take place. Mediation can be arranged at short notice subject to the availability of the participants and the mutually agreed mediator.
Q. What are the formalities when in a mediation?
Another benefit of mediation is that the participants can agree with the mediator how to utilise the time. Typically a lot of the formalities that you would expect within a court/tribunal setting are unnecessary and can be ignored. The mediator will seek to agree and enable guided negotiation and discussion in an informal but respectful environment.
The mediator will ask the participants for consent at the outset of the mediation to ask some challenging questions about the dispute. Typically this will take place when the mediator is in private discussion with one participant (and their representatives if present). The purpose being to seek a better understanding of the history of the dispute. Often these questions will be to "reality test" any agreement reached by the participants.
Q. Can we ask the Mediator for an opinion?
The mediator is not a person who will provide legal or professional advice to those participating in the mediation. The mediator will not give a judgement or an award. The mediator will not comment on the merits or substance of a case. The role of the mediator is to assist the parties to an agreement using principled negotiation.
Q. What if the mediation is unsuccessful?
A natural concern to those who are new to mediation is the worry that if they make offers to settle during a mediation, and a settlement is not reached, then they have in some way undermined their case. Mediation takes place in private and the negotiations, discussions and conduct of the participants remains private unless all the parties agree otherwise. Importantly the mediation is also conducted on a without prejudice basis meaning that should the participants not be able to reach an agreement anything discussed or shared at the mediation is not allowed to be offered as evidence should the matter proceed to court/tribunal.
Q. To mediate do I have to be in the same room as the person I am in dispute with?
The mediator is there to ensure all participants can speak freely and that the discussions are fair and equal. Mediations can be held with all participants around one table and/or using separate rooms for each participant to talk privately with the mediator. The mediator will discuss these practicalities with the participants and agree a way forward.
The mediator will work to ensure that the atmosphere and setting is conducive to positive communication and will not tolerate unnecessary adversarial conduct. The mediator helps to separate the personal aspects from the issues in dispute, seeking to reduce tension and focus on finding a mutually agreeable solution.
Q. When is the best time to mediate?
It is for the participants and/or their advisers to decide when would be a good time to schedule a mediation. Mediation at an early stage of a dispute can significantly reduce costs. However, mediation has more chance of being successful when the participants are clear as to both sides of the dispute and have exchanged evidence/pre-action disclosure.
Q. Do we have to reach a settlement if we agree to mediation?
Each of the participants maintains control of the dispute and its resolution because, unlike the trial process, the parties design the settlement and agree to live by it only if it's acceptable to them.
Any settlement agreement drafted at the conclusion of the mediation is not binding until it is signed by all the parties.
To arrange an appointment with our Mediator Mel White, contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.