If your business is a plaintiff or defendant in a commercial dispute, it is highly probable that you will be required to take part in mediation. Mediation is a negotiation process which follows a set structure. It is designed to help to resolve disputes between the parties concerned. It aims to help parties to reach an acceptable resolution of their differences rather than having one imposed by a Court. Below are the answers to some common questions about the mediation process.
Who decides that mediation is needed?
Mediation can either be entered into voluntarily by the parties in the case or can be ordered by the Court.
Who will be the mediator?
The Court may invite parties to choose a mediator from a list of preferred mediators. They can also arrange for the Court Registrar to act as mediator. If the parties agree, they also have the option of appointing their own mediator. If agreement cannot be reached, the Court has the power to appoint a mediator of their own choosing.
Who decides the time and location of the mediation?
Once a mediator has been chosen and agreed upon. The parties will then have to decide on the time and location of the mediation. The mediation may be hosted by a law firm at their offices or at a neutral location.
What happens during mediation?
When the parties arrive at the mediation venue, they will be shown to their own private rooms so that they can properly prepare for the mediation confidentially. During this time, the mediator will visit the parties to introduce themselves before bringing the parties together to begin the mediation process at a joint conference.
At the joint conference, the lawyers representing each party will present their case, highlighting the strength of their client's case while attempting to highlight weaknesses in the opposing case while also suggesting a possible pathway to ending the dispute. Both parties will have the opportunity to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of the various issues.
After the joint session, both parties will return to their private rooms. The mediator will then visit each room, moving between them several times in order to communicate various messages and possible offers of resolution. Depending on how the mediation proceeds and the actions of both parties, the mediator may call the parties together again for a second joint council or choose to hold further confidential discussions with each party in order to reach a resolution.
If you are involved in a commercial dispute, you should contact a commercial lawyer for further advice.