Gerry O'Sullivan Mediator's Toolkit book

 Mediation - Step by Step


Step 1 - Initial Contact

The mediator is contacted by a solicitor, employer /or directly by one or both of the disputants. The mediator makes contact with each of the Parties in dispute and sends them documentation explaining the mediation process and The Agreement to Mediate document that parties will be expected to sign. These are the rules for engaging in the mediation process.

Step 2 - Explanation of the Process and Invitation to Engage

The mediator offers each of the Parties an opportunity to seek clarification and to voice any concerns they may have. If the Parties agree to engage in mediation, then the practical arrangements for venue, dates and times are arranged. Relevant documentation is provided to the mediator. e.g. In the case of separating couples this documentation will include information necessary to complete a Statement of Financial Affairs, in the case of bullying or harassment in employment disputes the documentation may include the employers’ policies, their grievance and disciplinary procedures in this area, the letters of complaint sent to management by the complainant and the response letters from the complained against.

Step 3 - Separate meetings with all of the Parties

The mediator will meet the Parties separately to answer any further clarifying questions. The parties sign the Agreement to Mediate document. The mediator uses this private and confidential time with the parties to hear about the dispute and to facilitate the parties to focus clearly on the issues and interests they need to bring to the mediation.

Step 4 - Joint Plenary Session/Separate Caucus Sessions

A joint plenary session bringing the Parties together will take place. Separate sessions may need to occur during the mediation process. These may be necessary if the mediator wishes to discuss an issue with one, or both of the parties in private. The degree to which caucusing occurs will depend on the nature of the dispute. Caucusing is used to a greater extent in Civil and Commercial Mediation than in other types of mediation. All discussions at these separate sessions are confidential and the mediator will not bring information from one party to the other party unless there is clear permission to do so.

Step 5 - Joint Plenary Session/Separate Caucus Sessions

When agreement has been reached, this agreement will be signed by each of the Parties and the mediator. The content of the agreement is confidential to each of the Parties and to the mediator, unless all of the Parties agree to the contrary. The parties may choose to bring this agreement to each of their solicitors.

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