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Nobody can be forced to go to a mediation so people need to choose to participate.  This article aims to answer questions I am often asked about what is often the most difficult part of the process – getting people to show up in the first place.

How can I convince the other party that mediation is a good thing for both of us?

Often people have previously had a functioning relationship with the people who they want to mediate with.  However, as the dispute develops, both sides stop trusting each other and often don’t want to listen, to let alone do, what the other side suggests.

Asking is often far more effective then telling so some helpful questions to ask the party you want to come to the table to think about are:

  • If we don’t go to mediation how do you think we going to sort this out?
  • What are your concerns?
  • What would help alleviate your concerns?

Do I need legal advice?

Lawyers can be instrumental in getting the parties to the table in the first place.  They will also assess the merits of the case and evaluate the risks and benefits of taking the matter to court.  Equally they may advise that certain actions are taking before mediating.

Due to the potential costs consequences of not mediating, a lawyer will often effectively be able to present both the benefits and risks of mediation to the other party even though they won’t be able to advise them.

Often lawyers will provide advice for the purposes of the mediation much of which will be focussed on the in order to support parties to come to the table and to support the c

Can the mediator make someone mediate?

Most mediators will not contact on party on behalf of the other party to ask them to mediate.  This is because, the mediator will need to be “omnipartial” i.e. on the side of all the parties.  If the mediator contacts one party to get the other to come to the table then they might not be trusted by the party who is being invited and that can have negative consequences for everyone when mediation happens later down the line.

However, a mediation organisation may contact a party to let them know that they have been invited to mediation and provide the invitee with a choice of mediators.  What that organisation won’t be able to do is advise the parties of the merits of the case or the alternatives to mediation.

What if they refuse to be in the same room as me?

Mediation does not necessarily mean sitting in the same room with another person throughout the session.  In fact, many mediators shuttle between the parties whilst they are working through the agreement.  This is because the process is very flexible.  The focus is on getting the parties what they want as opposed to complying with conventions or forcing people to do what they don’t want to.

Do you want to have a no obligation confidential discussion with a mediator?

Most mediators are more than happy to have a confidential conversation with anyone who is thinking about mediation to help them think through whether mediation will be for them.  In this conversation, the average professional mediator will not seek to persuade the party to come to the table.  Their professional reputation will depend on them being impartial on all issues including whether people come to the table in the first place.  Rather, they serve as a sounding board to support the person work out whether they want to mediate, address any concerns and identify anything they need to do before they mediate such as seeking legal or other advice.  This will allow the parties to make a robust decision about whether to mediate as opposed to feeling manipulated or forced into it.

If you would like to talk to me or one of our mediators, please do  call 0800 082 9993 and we will set up a conversation within 24 hours of your call.