What is Mediation?

Mediation is the involvement of an impartial person who is trained to help resolve disputes. They can help you identify and discuss issues that need resolving, consider possible ways forward and reach a decision that feels fair to everyone involved.

Mediation:

Offers a practical, affordable, commonsense approach to resolving disputes.
Helps people sort out misunderstandings that have led to argument.
Focuses on what practically needs to happen to resolve matters.
Enables those involved to retain control of how the situation is resolved.
Avoids having to resort to damaging, sometimes public and often expensive, legal battles.
Helps people, where they wish, to preserve important personal and business relationships.
Provides a forum for "without prejudice" confidential* discussions where you can suggest ways forward without fear of your proposals being later used in legal action if you cannot agree.

How does mediation work?

Mediators will normally talk to those involved in a dispute separately first. If you and they feel that mediation will be of help, they will then offer you either one, or a series of meetings with one or two mediators, depending on the needs of the case. They will provide a comfortable neutral setting where those in dispute can discuss the issues that you feel are important. Mediators are trained to manage difficult discussion, help you identify what other help and information you need to make informed decisions and help you find a way forward that seems fair and practical to everyone involved.

How much will it cost?

Mediators work in various settings including in voluntary organisations, private practices and in solicitors offices and charge at different levels. You can ask about the cost of mediation before confirming that you want to ask a mediator to work with you. Some family mediators can provide mediation that is publicly funded for those who are eligible. Some voluntary mediation services have charitable funding and do not charge.

How long does it take?

This depends on the type of dispute and the complexity of your circumstances. Some mediations, for example concerning workplace disputes, are often conducted over a day. Family mediation tends to be a series of several shorter meetings of about 1-2 hours each with time in between for you to get further information or try out arrangements for you and your family. Most family mediations are completed in about 3-6 meetings – but of course every case is different.

Can it help me?

Mediation can be of great help in many situations. Those in disagreement do not always have to be amicable for mediation to work. Mediators are used to dealing with people who are sometimes angry and upset with each other. It is important however that everyone involved in mediation feels safe to take part and are able to contribute freely and on an equal basis.

Is it legally binding?

Decisions made in mediation are documented but are not legally binding. A legal agreement, should you require one, can be drawn up from the document by solicitors.

How can I find out more about mediation?

The further pages here give more details of different sorts of mediation. You are welcome to contact our office if you would like further information mediation. You can also call us to identify a College mediator in your area or you can use our online find a mediator search.

* Like most other professionals, mediators are unable to keep matters confidential if they are told anyone has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed. In such cases they are obliged to inform the relevant authorities.