Mediation - What to Expect
A simpler and more cost-effective alternative to pursuing litigation or other formal legal processes, mediation is a common method used to resolve disputes where negotiations have so far failed. At Robert Wood and Associates, we are the lawyers Wantirna and Boronia locals rely on for expert legal advice. Lawyers and solicitors all over Melbourne participate in mediations regularly, however, for most clients it is their first time. We understand that many people have no idea what to expect from mediation here is a simple guide that may help if you are entering into mediation in the future.
What is Mediation?
A common form of dispute resolution in Australia, mediation is the process where a mediator, usually an experienced lawyer, barrister or former Judge, assists disputing parties to negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution and avoid Court. Mediators do not take sides and will not make a decision about which party is right or wrong, instead they work with both parties to come to an agreeable solution.
The Mediation Process
No negotiation is the same as another. Different mediators use different processes and adopt varied styles, and every mediation moves with its own rhythm. A mediator will be selected based on the complexity of your situation and the issues involved. Once selected a date, time and location will be determined for the mediation. While the process will vary, the below is a general guide:
Before the day, the mediator will generally meet with or telephone both parties separately to discuss any concerns and understand each party’s desired outcome.
On the day, both parties’ legal representatives will be asked to make opening statements on behalf of their clients. This aims to determine the key issues and narrow them down into what both parties already agree on and what is in dispute.
Each party will be asked to offer their options for settlement.
One party may be asked to make an offer to the other. Offers will be exchanged until an agreement is reached.
The aim of this process is to resolve the issues in dispute, and agreement usually requires both parties to compromise.
What Happens When an Agreement is Reached?
Once both parties come to agreeable solution, the terms of the agreement will then be set out in writing and signed by each party. The signed documents will then be lodged with the Court to become an Order. It is important to understand, that the agreement is not final until the Order is made.
What if an Agreement is Not Reached?
If you cannot reach agreement with the other party during the mediation, the mediation will conclude and your lawyer will discuss the next steps with you. Both parties will then need to work with their respective lawyers to determine how to move forward, this may include making further offers or a determination by the Court.
What is the Role of a Lawyer?
Mediation is different from a Court process, as the aim is to reach a mutual agreement and not necessarily a ‘win’. A good lawyer will prepare and obtain all the necessary information needed for you to make informed decisions and negotiations. They will work with you prior to the mediation, help you prepare for the day and understand the variables that may arise so know what to expect. On the day, your lawyer will be calm in their demeanour, as an aggressive or forceful approach may impact the chances of a settlement. Your lawyer will work with you, the mediator, the other party and their legal representative to positively find an agreeable solution.
Robert Wood and Associates is an experienced legal practice serving clients throughout the eastern suburbs of Melbourne including Boronia, Vermont, Wantirna and surrounding areas. Whether you are going through a family or commercial dispute and you are looking for professional and reliable solicitors Melbourne families and businesses trust, make an appointment with our team today. We are here to prepare you for and support you through the entire mediation process. Call (03) 9762 3877 or contact us online now.
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