'A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.' Winston Churchill
"I would like to appoint a mediator"
Has the court ordered you to resolve your dispute by mediation?
Are you keen to explore the use of mediation before going to court?
Has the other party to the dispute asked you to go to mediation?
Do you have a workplace dispute that is causing disruption, where mediation would help?
Do you have a conflict situation in which a mediator's skills may be useful (e.g. in handling delicate commercial negotiations with neighbours regarding environmental issues such as noise or nuisance or the use of property?)
There are many situations in which parties involved in conflict may decide that they need to appoint a mediator. Once the parties have agreed to mediate (or have been told to mediate by the court), they need to find a mediator acceptable to the parties.
"How do I find the right mediator?"
There are likely to be many mediators who will have the necessary skills and experience to resolve your dispute. However, it is not always easy to decide which one might be best! We make the following suggestions
- For disputes involving the enforcement of any legal rights or claims, which, if not resolved would end up in the court or tribunal, try to find someone (usually a lawyer) with experience of how the legal process works and the costs and timescales involved;
- Whilst the primary training for mediators involves the learning of mediation techniques and processes, if the subject-matter of the dispute is very specialised and/or discussions will involve a lot of technical "jargon", it will save time if the mediator is familiar with this;
- Do some background research on the mediator to find out about his approach, style and experience;
- Most mediators are prepared to travel, but allow for reasonable travel expenses and the costs of overnight accommodation.
- Unless the dispute is about a very small sum of money (and not much else (don't appoint the mediator on price alone).
Often the parties will "haggle" over the appointment of the mediator, worried that prior involvement with the other party's lawyer or firm will mean the mediator is biassed. This should not happen, but if you are concerned ask for reassurance about that relationship.
Generally speaking it is not realistic to appoint a mediator on the simple basis that the mediator will tell the other party how good your case is! Whilst the mediator may do this, s/he will always have to remain entirely independent and impartial.