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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Brief the mediator - itís likely to benefit the client

Having read into the papers, a mediator will normally wish to speak to each party’s solicitor or counsel before the mediation day to garner as much knowledge about the background to the case as will allow him/her to hit the ground running on the day.  

How candid should you be with the mediator? If you are willing to answer questions, confidentially, about the individuals attending the mediation, for example about their roles, concerns, personalities, skills, limitations and relationships within the team and with people in the other team, then this can significantly add to the value your client will get out of the mediator.  The mediator will have time to reflect on possible dynamics, and formulate realistic, and sensitive, ideas for process, which can be pivotal to whether the mediation day starts well and ends well.

Some lawyers can be very open during these confidential pre-mediation calls, whereas others are more cautious, understandably concerned about being disloyal.  Clearly there is a balance and a tone to be struck, and frankness which is motivated by a desire to get better value out of the mediation, and out of the mediator, is easier to justify.  The more we mediators know about the people involved, the more we can reflect ahead of the mediation and be closer to the necessary wavelengths on the day.

Mediator: Stuart Chapman

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