No mediators do not decide cases.
That was a succinct answer but my editor wants more! It is a common misunderstanding that mediators make a decision on a case at the end of a mediation – like a judge. The misconception is present among solicitors and lay clients alike. A solicitor friend asked me once if I had to give written reasons for my decisions. On another occasion I was speaking to client on the phone before the mediation – I always tell solicitors to invite their clients to call me before the day so that they can ask me any questions about the process and make sure they know what to expect. This particular client asked me if they would find out my decision on the day!
The latter incident reflected badly on the firm she was instructing. Think about the service being provided to the client. The mediation was costing her half of my fee plus counsel’s fee plus her own solicitors fee – a not insignificant amount. She had been sold all that without any real understanding of what she was buying. Not good. At the end of the call she told me how pleased she was to have had the opportunity to talk to me and would now approach the day in a completely different way. I was glad too but concerned about what the solicitor’s approach would be.
To help solicitors explain the process I have prepared this client’s guide to mediation for general litigation and this one for personal injury claims. Solicitors are free to copy and distribute them or simply use them as a template for their own version. It is then a simple matter of including it as a separate document in any letter recommending the process.
I also offer free assessments of cases to see if they would be suitable to mediate. The call can be a conference call including you and your client – if you want more information do not hesitate to call me on 0845 056 3625.