Mediating without lawyers
There are many reasons why you might want to try mediation without lawyers attending:
- You believe if the family could talk to each other they could sort it out themselves.
- The cost of lawyers is disproportionate to the amount of the estate.
- Lawyers aren’t prepared to take your case on a “no win no fee” basis.
- It is early in the dispute and you want to try and resolve things before they escalate.
- You are only arguing about one specific thing.
- Involving lawyers will inflame the situation.
- Your lawyer has suggested you try it as the most cost effective solution.
You, me and the other parties all attend an agreed venue. I have a short private meeting with each party, then we all meet together in the same room. (Yes I know you were maybe hoping you didn’t have to speak to the other side but I’m a mediator, not a messenger).
Each party has a chance to talk about your concerns and ask questions. Then we consider together what steps you want to take next. You may want to talk about the options and choices you have.
There may come a time when you would feel more comfortable talking to me privately without the other party in the room. You may have something you want to talk through or questions to ask. I may also want to suggest we meet privately if I think it would be helpful. Either party may request a private meeting at any time, or I may do so. If I meet privately with one of you, of course I will also meet privately with the other. You will decide whether what we talk about in our private meetings will be confidential or shared with the other party.
Mediation gives you the opportunity to discuss all the issues and concerns you have about your dispute. It may help you:
- Think about your goals;
- Gather information that you need;
- Identify options open to you;
- Hear and better understand the views and perspectives of the other people involved;
- Decide what is really important to you;
- Choose a course of action that may be an agreement resolving the matter in a manner satisfactory to everyone involved or may be some other course of action.
People often find all of these are valuable results of mediation, but you will be the best judge of what you want.
If all parties agree to resolve the matters you can write a binding agreement and sign it or you can prepare a non-binding “memorandum of understanding” before getting legal advice on a binding agreement or putting your agreement into legal effect.
- Help you talk about your purpose and goals for being involved, what you hope to accomplish and why is it important to you;
- Listen to you, summarise and ask questions and give you the opportunity to listen and ask questions of each other;
- Help you talk about your concerns, ask questions and understand the issues;
- Support you and the other party and your goals;
- Assist you with considering your goals and choices, but I will not make any decisions for you. If you want to make any choices about what to do in the situation or to resolve it, the decision will be yours. What you want to do in the mediation is always your choice.
Are there any rules?
Many people I work with have already tried to discuss the situation but found things did not go well. This is an opportunity for you to talk about the situation in a different way with a mediator helping. Sometimes guidelines or “ground rules” for your conversation in mediation can help and you will have the chance to discuss any requests or suggestions for guidelines that you think would help to make things go better for you at the mediation.
I am committed to keeping everything you say at the mediation confidential. No one outside of the meetings will hear about what you say from me. You are bound to keep matters confidential too but you can agree to change that if all parties agree.