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What happens at a mediation?

An overview of the process

“The mediator meets with each party before the mediation to gather general information about the dispute, brief them, answer any questions and to help them to prepare for the day. At a mediation there are typically five stages. Stage 1 Opening statements Statements are made by each party describing their side of the dispute and the consequences involved. Stage 2 Joint Discussions Depending on the dynamics between the parties, everyone at the table has the opportunity to discuss what was said in the opening statements and to agree an agenda and to explore the issues in more detail. Stage 3 Private Discussions Once the parties have completed their initial discussions, they each meet privately with the mediator to check in on their experience of the mediation so far and to prepare for negotiating with the other party and exploring what they might offer. Stage 4 Negotiation The parties come back together to explore all possible options that could lead to a settlement that would work for each of them. If necessary, once this stage has been completed, the parties may have another private session with the mediator before the final stage. Stage 5 Settlement In this final stage a settlement is reached between the parties which is recorded in writing. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the mediator helps both sides decide their next steps e.g., whether to try to reach an agreement again, go to a tribunal etc.

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