If you decide to take a case, your next step is to learn what you need in order to design a mediation process that will meet each client’s procedural needs…
As with negotiation, the mediation process follows a basic framework. The framework that a mediator uses will be determined by the principles that guide through.
At Riverdale Mediation, these are our guiding principles: we see to provide a safe, fair, confidential, balanced, neutral, informed and voluntary process of self-determination that does no harm.
Each of these principles is important and sometimes they conflict with one another. It is therefore essential to have a solid understanding of the purpose of each principle, and a vision of how these principles will play out in any given situation. When confronted with a new challenge, good mediators will return to the principles that guide them for the solution.
The following series are excerpts from one of our training manuals for new mediators.
PART 2 – POST-DECISION & PRE-MEDIATION PREPARATION
If you decide to take a case, your next step is to learn what you need in order to design a mediation process that will meet each client’s procedural needs. This includes:
- determining whether either party has any disabilities that need to be accommodated
- discussing with each what process adaptations they need; from all-caucus to no-caucus; from including lawyers to excluding them; from short meetings to full-day meetings; from dealing with one issue at a time to addressing all issues at once; from allowing emotions to enter the room to agreeing on boundaries; from providing for separate arrivals and departures, including advocates and supports, hiring translators, including family members; your job at this stage is to canvass every procedural step you can take to design a process that will empower both parties to participate in a process that complies with your principles.
- Assessing the amount of information and documentation that the parties have, and what each needs in order to participate fully, and determining the best way to obtain that information. Sometimes it will form part of the process; other times you will determine that the circumstances require the parties to obtain advice and exchange disclosure prior to starting the mediation.
- Learning what existing orders or agreements impact the mediation and ensuring that you and the parties (and their lawyers) all understand and agree on the implications of such orders or agreements on the procedure in the mediation.
- Assessing, with each client separately, how prepared they are to proceed. Refer to the prior pages on preparing for negotiation; all of these steps must be taken with each client.
- Ensure that each client understands the Agreement to Mediate, and has had an opportunity to get advice on it and ask you any questions they may have.