Mediation will usually happen in five different stages;
1) The initial meeting
2) Joint meeting
3) Working with the mediator
4) Evaluation of the mediation
5) The settlement
The initial meeting is where each party is assisted by a mediator in exploring and clarifying the issues and feelings involved and decide if mediation would be a positive option in resolving the difficulties. The Joint meeting will start the parties concerned in the dispute by working towards and create a workable settlement or agreement about the future. This meeting will build a mutual understanding of the parties ongoing working relationship. The acting mediator will need to interact constructively with the parties while at the same time be completely impartial at all stages even within the parties company. Evaluating the mediation process would look at the contribution and results that both parties involved have given with a concept of improving the relationship for both parties interest. It will then be vital to ensure that both parties have recognised that they have developed various new techniques to resolve disputes through mediation which could be very helpful in relation to work in the future.
Every mediator will conduct the mediation process differently, it all depends on the mediator, the dispute and the parties involved. There are generally some key stages which help to set out the basic structure of the mediation process. A mediator would be appointed by both parties who have agreed on the choice, this is usually done either independently or through their personal legal advisers. The mediation date would then be set by both parties with an agreed neutral place for the mediation to take place. The venue should have at least three separate rooms so private discussions can be held, one for each party to the dispute and one room that is used for the face to face negotiations between parties.
The mediator should receive all documentation and a case summary from both parties before the mediation can take place. This allow the mediator to be ready for the mediation and should allow them to understand the dispute more fully. The mediator can also contact both parties or their legal advisers before mediation begins in order to clarify any points about the case. Mediation is an informal process, but all involved will have a legal duty to sign a mediation agreement that states the basic rules and procedures that will applying to the mediation process.
On the mediation date, each party will have an initial private meeting with the mediator followed by a joint meeting with both parties and their legal advisers. This allows each party to share their own views and point out the main issues that they have. Once this has happened there is a session of private and confidential meetings that take place during the day, these meeting will generally consist of the mediators seperate meetings with each party that look into the main issues in order to completely understand both parties needs. Towards the end of the day, the mediator will encourage the parties to start constructive and fair negotiations.