What pre-mediation documentation may be required?
Prior to a mediation it is appropriate for both parties to submit documents summarising what they believe the specific issues to the case for mediation are. Ideally these should not consist of lengthy legal bundles re-working months or years of previous work, but clear and unambiguous information that will allow the mediation to proceed rapidly. The prior documentation should be submitted in plenty of time to ensure the mediator will have had time to acquaint himself with the contents. Extensive documentation may influence the overall cost of the mediation. In essence agreement needs to be made on the provision of mediation case summaries, an agreed bundle and any expert reports. A brief ‘opening statement’ from each party may assist.
The following are examples of the type of information that may be considered relevant (although it is not unusual for little or no documentation to be provided in advance):
- Summary of the case (may be from each party, or a combined summary).
- Details of any previous settlement offers.
- Court pleadings (if already before a court).
- Expert reports.
- Medical records.
- Plans, maps.
- Costs to date.
- Anticipated future costs in absence of settlement.
- Witness statements.
- Schedule and counter schedules.
The venue for a mediation needs to be geographically convenient to the parties, with appropriate transport access and parking, not limited by time. A mediation can be mentally and physically challenging and can sometimes continue for many hours. A pleasant environment is important and where relevant appropriate heating and air conditioning. A number of rooms will be required with appropriate toilet facilities and access to food and refreshments. Access to wifi and plug points and phones may be required. The ability to utilise suites of rooms beyond allotted times may be necessary. Such organisation requires substantial administration.
How do we liaise with the mediator?
A mediation requires communication between mediator, parties, and venue. This is best handled by the FHC Case Management system which can be responsible for the identification of the mediator, providing instruction to the parties on what the mediator will need and arranging a suitable date with all parties. It is appropriate to have a timetable for the provision of documents to be supplied to the mediator prior to the mediation. It is important for the mediator, once appointed, to make contact with the parties. Mediators will provide a standard Mediation Agreement to the parties that will include topics such as : name of mediator; names of the parties; venue/date/timing; fees; nature of dispute; the procedure to be adopted at the mediation; what happens in the event of an overrun; the fees for overtime; confidentiality; without prejudice; termination of the mediation. It is advisable for the parties to have considered a copy of this document in advance, as it will be signed by all parties, and the mediator, at the mediation.