Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is Mediation?
A meeting with representatives of the disputing parties, in which the Mediator intervenes as a neutral party to assist in the settlement of disputes. The Mediator cannot force the parties to agree, but he or she can offer the parties an opportunity to discuss their problems candidly, which can help to solve them.
- When can Mediation be requested?
Mediation can be requested after impasse, or when both parties agree that talks are not bringing the dispute towards a settlement.
- Who can request Mediation?
Either party or jointly, but both sides must agree to the request.
- Where and when are Mediations held?
Wherever the disputing parties are located. Meetings have been held in motels, school buildings, courthouses and libraries. This office prefers to schedule meetings during the day, Monday through Friday. Currently, such meetings can be scheduled within two weeks.
- What happens in Mediation?
The Mediation format is controlled by the Mediator, in consultation with the parties. Most commonly, the Mediator starts by bringing the parties together to identify the open issues to be resolved, then meeting with them separately (or "caucusing") to get more information. There is no time limit, unless the parties impose one. The Mediator uses various techniques designed to help the parties understand each other's positions, and to find the ideas needed to solve the problem.
- What should be done to prepare for Mediation?
To support effective mediation, the Office requires each side to make available the people necessary to bind their parties to tentative agreements. A proposed settlement should be identified for each issue in dispute. The Office prefers to have at least two rooms available, one for the initial common meeting, and the other one for the parties to meet separately with the mediator to caucus. The parties are free to continue negotiations up to the time of the mediation session.