The first mediation back for 2017 had me confused. It was booked in the usual way, however one party was a son acting under enduring power of attorney for his father. The other party was the de facto partner (of the father).
I confess to being a little anxious about my abilities as I plunged into research overload refreshing my understanding of the law surrounding EPAs and the like.
The mediation started in the usual way, however both parties accepted my invitation to commence the mediation together, i.e. a classic mediation caucus.
Each party commenced with a brief outline of what had been occurring, what they considered the dispute to be and what they were looking for in the outcome. It became obvious that both parties wanted an outcome that enabled the father/de facto husband to enjoy a stress-free future. How this looked in terms of an agreement between the parties had all the hallmarks of a contactarrangement that most family lawyers would be familiar with.
Also, joining the mediation, were two specialist witnesses. This gave the parties the opportunity to hear, discuss but most importantly have their concerns raised and answered in a non-invasive forum.
That’s what I felt my role was for nearly the entire mediation. Providing each party with an opportunity to be genuinely heard – by the other party, by the aged care facility, the experts and me had probably more worth than any technical knowledge about the area of law involved.
It could become my personal mantra for 2017 – listen more, speak less.