Why Mediate?

People are hesitant about mediation…it’s the new kid on the block as far as litigators are concerned.

It has now been mainstream for more than 20 years so there really is no excuse for not embracing it.

It’s in our clients best interests to deliver a resolution in a fair, speedy ,cost effective way. If this can be done with both parties to a dispute walking away with a ‘win’ why aren’t we all doing it?

Education is the key.

We need to talk and keep talking about the benefits. Those of us who have been through the mediation training will no doubt have come across the bugly fruit case study. In essence the fruit crop fails. The farmer has sold two tonnes of the fruit, one tonne to each of two end users. His crop only yields one tonne. What to do?

After much role play and the litigators in the room arguing about contract terms, those who think out of the box may work out that both parties want a different part of the fruit but not the whole fruit. The solution is in working out that the outer skin is to be removed and given to party one and the other party gets the soft inner flesh.

Thinking outside of the box, looking at what the parties actually want out of the dispute and agreeing to something that a court could never order allows both parties to walk away with a ‘win’ and hopefully a continued relationship.

Sounds like a good idea? it is.

The success rate is high, even higher if you look at those matters that don’t settle on the day but in the few days after the mediation on the basis of the ground covered at the mediation. It’s simple. It’s not binding if you don’t settle, you walk away. If you settle the terms are reduced to writing and the deal is done.

So if mediation is now main stream the new kid on the block has to be virtual mediation conducted on various video conferencing platforms.

As we went into lockdown in March 2020 I thought, no thanks, I will hang on a few months until we can get together. Face to face was my mantra.

How wrong was I. As the time rolled on I had no choice but to give it a try.

Embrace it and don’t let the technology be an issue I thought and off I went to my virtual mediation suite in my home office.

It really works. I am now a total convert. Its effective in every way. Now with many virtual mediations under my belt I can confirm that it’s the new norm and generally preferred by the parties. It turns and already cost effective process into an even more cost effective process.

The mediation is conducted in the comfort of your office or home which definitely reduces the stress levels. Without exception, every virtual mediation I have conducted has resulted in one or more of the participants telling me how nervous they were but how impressed they were with the process.

My prediction as we move out of lockdown is that the balance will shift and whilst some mediations will be conducted face to face a significant number will go ahead in virtual meeting rooms.

I am very happy to chat about the practicalities of this and provide some training on the use of video conferencing to mediate should anyone wish.

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