Tensions are high, emotions are heightened, 2020 has been an unprecedented and high-pressured year and in turn has put strain on many aspects of our lives. Conflict and dispute may have arisen as a result. But did you know you can take the strain out of a stressful situation and find resolutions professionally with mediation services – essentially using a Mediator as the middle ‘person’ – whether it’s family, business or employer/employee mediation.
We spoke to Ashwin Topiwala and Sarah Spence at Dodds Solicitors to find out more about Mediation and how it could save troubled relationships
For those who may not be aware, what is mediation?
Assisting parties who are in dispute to reach a solution to their dispute
Is it the same as Counselling?
No counselling involves talking things through with a professional and could be for one or both parties to a dispute but mediation always involves both parties
We all have disagreements, it’s human nature, but when do we need to escalate the situation with mediation?
When you have reached an impasse and can’t progress matters any further
What issues and disputes can be discussed and mediated?
- Disputes over property
- Disputes over Wills and Probate
What is the role of a mediator? What benefit do they have? How involved do they get? Are they qualified as a mediator?
A mediator will be impartial and none judgemental. They will guide the parties towards a solution that works for them. The benefit of instructing a mediator is that they do not impose a solution upon the parties in the same way that a judge making a judgment at the end of a court hearing would. Our mediators are accredited with the Family Mediation Council and with ADR group.
How do you choose the right mediator for you?
People have to feel comfortable with their chosen mediator and confident that they can bring a solution to matters. I would suggest looking at a mediators online profile and CV and looking to see if they have a video on their website so you can see and hear them before meeting them
What are the advantages of mediation?
You can reach a workable solution to a problem without having something imposed upon you. An agreement reached in mediation might include items, which would not typically be covered in court proceedings for example an agreement as to who keeps the family pet or prized photograph album. Also the agreement reached remains confidential which is not always possible with court proceedings. It also saves delay and costs of the dispute in Court Litigation.
What typically are the most common disputes you offer advice with or the most surprising, that we might not know we can resolve through mediation?
Most common disputes are family related but we can offer services in respect of all types of civil and commercial matters
If someone wants to involve mediation but the other party is hesitant or resistant to, how can you persuade them? Do both parties have to be involved? Do they have to meet each other or be in the same room?
Both parties do have to be involved but they do not have to meet face to face if they do not want to. A number of mediations are dealt with on a “shuttle” basis where each party remains in their own room (nowadays either real or virtual)and the mediator moves between the two rooms helping each party to understand the other party’s position.
Has Covid changed the way you practice Mediation?
Yes, online mediation has become more common.
What does the typical process involve?
Civil and commercial usually takes one day for divorce and children mediations there is usually a series of meetings
How quickly can we be appointed a mediator and how long can you expect the process to take?
From an initial decision to approach a mediator to booking an appointment can be within a few days. The process can take 1 day for civil and commercial mediations usually and two to three weeks on average for family disputes
Do both sides appoint a mediator, or can you lead or self-represent?
Both parties have to agree on a choice of mediator.
What are the chances of a successful resolution? What happens if it is unsuccessful? Do you have to reach a settlement?
The proportion of cases settled by mediation is high and often if matters cannot be resolved on the day of the mediation sometimes they settle shortly afterwards.
Is the process legally binding, are you bound to any terms discussed?
An agreement is usually drawn up by the parties or their legal representatives in a civil or commercial agreement and signed on the day after reaching agreement. In a Family mediation the mediator will prepare a memorandum of understanding which is then usually incorporated into an Order thereafter if required.
Is it an affordable option? How much does it cost?
The level of costs depends on the amount dispute for civil and commercial matters the starting price is £500.00 plus VAT per party per day and for divorce and children matters £150 plus VAT per person
At Dodds, you have “The Mediation Centre”, what can readers expect from this service, why should you be our first port of call? Is it unique in any way?
The Mediation Centre has experienced and qualified Mediators providing a full range of mediation services. It is unique in that it houses both Family and Civil and Commercial mediators under one roof. They are reasonable in price and have the ability to mediate to suit around you, your business and your family.