In part 1 of this 2-part guide you learned what mediation is and who attends. You found out what to expect at mediation and how it helps resolve conflict early on before things get out of hand.
In part 2 I will help you work out where and when to mediate.
Let me guide you through how mediation REALLY works.
Where is mediation held?
Mediation can happen just about anywhere. Courts and Tribunals (such as VCAT) conduct mediations in hearing rooms; Native Title mediations may happen in the open on under a marquee; and I have myself conducted mini-mediation in a noisy pub!
Ideally, mediation will be conducted in a quiet, safe place, with a table large enough to seat everyone, and a series of separate "break out" rooms available for private sessions between the mediator and each party, or for a party to take a break, gather their thoughts and prepare to resume a joint session.
Here in Melbourne we are lucky enough to have several excellent venues available for hire. The Courts also make rooms available for little or no cost, although demand is high for those. Most mediators prefer a neutral space in which all parties feel safe and secure; however, sometimes one party's lawyer will make their office boardroom available to save on the cost of the mediation process.
When to mediate?
Depending on the nature of the dispute, mediation may take half or a whole day, or may take several sessions spread over many days. As with all aspects of mediation, the format of your mediation is decided by consent.
Unlike Court hearings, mediation can be arranged to suit your schedule (within reason!). If everyone involved agrees, the mediation can start or finish outside of business hours or be conducted on the weekend; family commitments such as the school run can be accommodated; if a party has an incapacity or illness that means they are more cognizant at a particular time of day, then mediation can be set for those optimum hours.
Mediation can be used early on, as soon as a conflict arises; after correspondence has been exchanged and before court proceedings have been issued; or after court proceedings have been issued, any time up until the court delivers its decision.
So there you have it, the Who, What, Where and When of Mediation.
Over to you
Do you have any questions about the mediation process?
Until next time,