Parties in dispute are understandably apprehensive and do not know what to expect at mediation. As a general rule, the day starts with a joint opening session in which Barry will explain to the parties about his role and the process the parties can expect during the day. (If parties are reluctant to meet face-to-face because of extreme tensions and animosity, the joint session can be dispensed with.)
A representative from each party will then be asked to make an uninterrupted opening statement which is their initial opportunity to air their understanding of the dispute as they see it together with what they hope to achieve by the mediation.
Barry will then go into private sessions with each party – as many as necessary – in which anything said is in absolute confidence. The aim of these private sessions is to clarify the issues and explore uncharted territory with the aim of finding common ground between the parties and possible solutions to the dispute.
The aim of the business mediation is to arrive at an amicable settlement between the parties within an eight-hour mediation day but, if necessary, to adjourn the mediation and reconvene a few days later which gives the parties time to reflect on offers made, if any, and the position of the other side.
When settlement is reached it is formalised by way of a legally binding and enforceable document, agreeable to all the parties. The parties and their legal representatives each get a signed and dated copy.
By necessity, the process takes place over a longer period of time.
An initial 2 hour no-commitment meeting takes place between Barry and the couple in which the main points of issue are discussed and a plan of action is agreed. If everyone is in agreement to move forward, subsequent meetings follow between Barry and the couple and, if necessary, their professional advisers. The purpose of these meetings is to further clarify the issues, verify and establish individual financial positions and explore points of agreement.
As details are nearing finalisation, a joint meeting will take place between the couple, their advisers and Barry.
In between meetings with the couple, Barry will keep the professional advisers informed of any developments and mutual points of agreement in the form of succinct reports. It should be noted, that these reports are not agreements in their own right and are merely presented to the professional advisers to aid them in drafting documents for submission to the court.
- To guide the discussions.
- To act as peacemaker.
- To act as conciliator.
- To clarify the issues.
- To act as devil’s advocate.
- Not to act as judge or jury.
- Not to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s legal position.
- Not to form a view or impose a decision on the parties.
- Not to give advice but to point the parties to possible sources of information.
- Not to offer counselling in matrimonial disputes.