Tips For First Appearances

Redesigning the Mediation Process

My mediation process has been redesigned to provide a more efficient booking process but primarily to expect greater involvement from me than what is considered the norm.

My mediation service gives you and your client the security in knowing that when I turn up;

  1. I will have already conducted a pre-mediation conference in advance;
  2. I will have actively case managed the lead up to mediation day by ensuring parties have exchanged information they intend to rely on, so the mediation process is not obstructed by unnecessary issues; and
  3. I don’t walk away after mediation day, I stay involved to ensure any agreements are finalised and to assist with any post mediation issues raised by the clients or their legal representation. 

Several factors have lead to me reshaping my mediation service;

  1. I have a goal to achieve a 100% settlement rate. Experience tells me that the predominant reason why a mediation fails is due to the lack of preparedness to settle.   
  2. There is no indication that outcomes via the alternative pathway - litigation - are improving and may be getting worse.
  3. I am striving to meet the overarching goals set out in the Joint Practice Direction 1 of 2020 particularly Core Principals 2,5 and 8 which, when applied to a mediation process require;
    • disputes should be resolved justly, safely, efficiently, timely and at a cost to the parties that is reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances of the case, having regard to the significant impact of family law disputes on children and families. 
    • the appropriate time and way in which the parties can participate in mediation should be identified early; and
    • issues should be narrowed to those issues genuinely in dispute.

My mediation agreement specifically identifies a Schedule of Steps and Expectations the parties should undertake to prepare themselves properly for the mediation and agree to my intervention where recalcitrance or delay will potentially frustrate the final mediation. None of these should be considered new requirements, are recommended by most legal practitioner's professional indemnity insurers and are best practice. 

 

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