Mediation Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Workplace Mediation FAQs

When is the best time to mediate?

When a party identifies a breakdown in communication, cooperation or understanding which is affecting their ability to carry out there is usually the best time to try to find a solution to the issue. If workplace mediation is offered once the initial difficulties have been identified, this may make it easier for the parties to discuss their difficulties. Workplace mediation however has been successful even when problems have been left unaddressed, and matters have escalated to the stage when investigations have begun or disciplinary measures commenced or finalised or where there is a very uncomfortable working environment for the parties involved and those around them. Mediation has an 89% success rate in the workplace environments

Who pays for workplace mediation?

It is in the interest of the organisation to have a harmonious working environment and in almost all cases the mediation is paid for by the employer.

What are the potential benefits?
  • The issues are raised and clarified.
  • Issues addressed jointly as well as individually.
  • Appreciation of differences is often a help to finding a solution.
  • Greater understanding of the impact of the issue on each other.
  • Learning and adapting new perspectives.
  • Greater chance of compromise.
  • Repairing and rebuilding working relationships.
Is it worth it?

Workplace mediation is a chance to resolving issues and to enable parties to work together in a harmonious and effective manner into the future. Solutions and strategies can be adapted to avoiding problems occurring again and/or escalating.
Even in the case where there has been a formal complaint, investigated and determined, workplace mediation is an opportunity to help restructure, rebuild and refocus the parties on their specific roles and to adhere to appropriate boundaries, enabling them to work better within their organisation alongside their fellow co-workers.

Where does the mediation take place?

Ultimately it is up to the employer who is paying for the mediation as to where it takes place but the vast majority of employers follow the advice of the mediator and agrees the mediation joint sessions are held in a neutral venue away from the workplace. This is usually in a hotel conference room agreeable to all the participants.

How long does the process take?

The majority of workplace mediation takes one two hour session. Some will take longer depending on the circumstances and the number of people involved.

What will the employer know?

When the mediation has concluded the mediator will make a brief statement which can be either verbal or written to the employer. The statement will include a list of names of those attending, the dates of meetings and whether a resolution was reached or not. It will not include any contents or conversations or any part of the workplace mediation process. It will note whether the situation was resolved or unresolved or indeed if agreement was reached on some issues and not others without specifying any detail. The participants can mutually agree on matters to be disclosed (if any) to their employer.

Separating Couples Mediation FAQs

Do we have to meet face to face?

Usually it is more productive if participants meet in the same room but there are occasions where this is not suitable to the particular dispute. In these instances mediators will meet participants in adjacent rooms going from room to room meeting each participant individually.

In addition, more recently the use of virtual technology has increased and the sessions can be held in meeting rooms such as Zoom and other online platforms.

Do I need a solicitor?

No. You will not need a solicitor in the mediation session. As mediation is very informal it isn’t like a court hearing. There is no legal argument. The Participants know their own situation best and will be invited to discuss what is important to them and suggest anything that might help to resolve the conflict in a way that takes into account the needs of both.

There is however a number of complex legal disputes where solicitors are in the room. They are there to provide legal advice to their own participant and at their own expense. They usually will not participate in the discussions unless invited to do so.

If participants reach a settlement they are advised to get legal advice before making the settlement legally binding.

When is the best time to try mediation?

Mediation can be tried at any stage of a dispute and shows that you are willing to try to look for a positive solution. If there have been previous communication problems mediation may calm the situation and help people to focus on what is in everyone’s interest, rather than leaving an ongoing situation to exist.

The mediator will discuss all the issues with each participant individually in a pre-mediation session.

Can I bring someone with me?

Yes. With the agreement of the other party a participant can bring in a support person to the joint mediation session. This person usually does not speak unless invited to do so. Due to the informal nature of the process many situations can be adjusted to suit the needs and objectives of the participants. You may also find it helpful to be able to “phone a friend”; it all depends on the nature of the dispute, and what help you think you might need on the day.

Is it too late if the case is already in court?

No. Mediation can be commenced at any stage of a dispute. It is never too late to mediate; it can even occur during a civil case in court. The courts are increasingly recommending mediation in civil litigation procedures as a way to move matters forward and to minimise the costs of a lengthy and expensive civil trial which may have taken a number of years to reach a hearing date.

How long does mediation take?

Mediation can be arranged promptly; usually within days or a week, depending on the parties’ other commitments.

The mediation itself rarely goes over two hourly sessions per day unless progress is being made towards a settlement. Sessions can be adjourned for information to be sought, legal or expert advice to be obtained, for a bedding-in period of a settlement or for a number of other reasons.  Cases differ depending on the nature of the dispute. Separating couple mediation for example usually takes no more than five sessions.

If the mediator feels that no real progress is being made he/she will suggest ending the process.

Can it take place online?

Yes. Though it is not ideal in mediation it is not necessary for all concerned to meet physically. There are a number of online meeting platforms such as (Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet etc. These are particularly useful when the mediator speaks to the participants individually in the pre-mediation session.

Can I suggest to the other party to mediate with me?

Yes. You could broach the subject with them in an email or in person asking if they are familiar with mediation and if they would be willing to try it.

You could refer them to this website and ask them to have a look at it.

They could call our office or request a call-back and the mediator will explain the process and answer any questions they might have.

Do I need a mediator from outside the area?

In some cases if the issues are particularly sensitive or if the participants prefer a mediator who will not be known in the area or that they themselves will not be known in the area then the service is available outside the immediate area and the mediator will travel to a neutral area for the clients.

Civil & Commercial Mediation FAQs

Can my solicitor or other professionals be present?

Yes. In legal or commercial cases solicitors or other professionals such as accountants doctors actuaries’ engineers and pension advisors etc. Can be present. It may be that litigation has already started in which case solicitors will almost certainly be involved in the mediation. In any event you are encouraged to get advice from a solicitor so that you can make informed decisions. Your solicitor will give you advice on what you may achieve in a court Judgement.

The people who are present in the room during mediation are all there by the agreement of the participants. These professionals can contribute positively to the process with their expert knowledge and can help to define the pertinent issues quite quickly. This is known as collaborative mediation and is useful in ensuring that settlements stand the test of time due to the discussion of small unresolved but important issues. It is often the case that participants adjourn briefly to telephone an adviser during the mediation.

What are the advantages over going to court?
  • Going to court can be very stressful for most people. It can take a long time, sometimes even years to have a case heard in the higher Courts. It is also very expensive with the fees of the Solicitor, junior and/or senior Barristers and other legal expenses. If you go to court and you lose, you run the risk of paying the legal fees of the winning party as well as your own.
  • Mediation is quicker, cheaper and more likely to achieve a successful resolution that everyone feels comfortable with. A mediation process could cost between €500 and €1000 depending on the participants and their particular dispute.
  • Because discussions in mediation are confidential a failure at mediation means the participants are left in the same position they were in before they entered mediation proceedings so they can still seek other remedies.
  • Sometimes the winners at court do not recover all of their costs and may run up legal bills of thousands of euro.
  • Judges can only award a limited range of remedies which the people involved may feel are not sufficient or appropriate for their own particular situation.
  • Litigation results in long term damage to relationships between people who will need to co-operate in the future e.g. parents and work colleagues.
  • Increasingly overworked Courts are increasingly pointing litigants towards mediation as a potential alternative as the lists in the courts are steadily rising.
How private and confidential is Mediation?

One of the main attractions of commercial mediation as a way to resolve disputes is the fact that it is totally confidential. Underpinning this is a number of pillars. Confidentiality is key and information disclosed by each side to each other and by each side to the mediator during the process cannot be disclosed to another party. This also applies to the mediator courts will only depart from this principle in exceptional circumstances.

Information in whatever form relayed during mediation is without prejudice’ meaning offers of settlement or admissions made by one side are made on an off the record basis. They can’t subsequently be used in court proceedings.

Before the process starts the participants will be asked to sign a document called a Mediation Agreement stating that they will abide with the confidential nature of the process and the mediator will stress the private nature of the process to the parties at the outset. This helps create a sense of security in the process and encourage disclosure of information that might otherwise be withheld – information that might ultimately lead to a resolution.

The other side wants to have a solicitor but I do not, what happens now?

It is up to the participants to agree who they want in the room with them. Even if the other party have a solicitor you will not be disadvantaged for not having one if that is your choice as the mediator ensures that the mediation is undertaken in an even handed manner and to prevent / stop any sort of imbalance of power should it arise.

What if I have other questions?

If there are other questions you need to ask you can contact the service by phone or e-mail or request a call-back from this site. We will only be too glad to help.

Family Mediation FAQs

How do I broach the topic of elder mediation?

If the situation arises that mediation is being contemplated then it means in general that people are prepared to start to think about possible solutions. Mediation is often broached by one person to another by referring to it in conversation or referring to various websites. By referring a person to this website it gives an introductory look at the subject and may encourage someone to give it a try. Information can be either obtained by reading the website or in addition the reader is given the opportunity to submit a question either on the website itself or by email. The mediator is also glad to be of any assistance to people if they wish to give a quick ring to clear any matter up. When the matter is brought up the person can be asked if they might be willing to give it a try. There is nothing to be lost and possibly a good deal to be gained, including peace of mind.

Will I keep my Independence?

Yes. The benefit of mediation lies in its nature. It is an informal flexible and confidential process which the participants enter freely and without pressure. The participants are free to leave at any time if they feel they want to do so. It is not a legal process and all decisions or agreements are only made with the full acceptance of everyone involved. The emphasis on elder mediation is always on the best interest of the older person. The older person is in full control of their own life and decisions are made not just their needs but also their values and personal preferences.

Can the other side bully me into a settlement?
The emphasis in elder Mediation is on the interests of the older person. The Mediator will manage the process, ensuring everyone gets the opportunity to speak, and that everybody behaves respectfully. The mediator will be impartial but will be careful to ensure the equality of each participant and can end a meeting if it is no longer constructive. This sometimes happens if the mediator detects a serious power imbalance or if the participants fail to treat each other consistently in a respectful and safe manner. If after a warning it is s felt that one party is exerting undue influence or bullying the other party the mediator will bring the proceedings to a halt.
Is any agreement legally binding?

Only if both parties want it to be binding. An agreement during Mediation is called a Mediation Settlement and can either be verbal or in writing. The law states that the settlement will be binding unless the parties state they do not want it binding. The Mediator will be careful to advise the parties on this before the Mediation ends. Some Mediation settlements are not legally binding and depending on the nature of the dispute some are made legally binding. In some cases participants seek legal advice before making the settlement binding or else incorporate it into a legally binding document afterwards, which are enforceable in the Courts.

Is the Mediator a trained professional?

Yes. Mediators who are approved members of the Mediators Institute of Ireland (MII) have a high standard of specialist training and accreditation, in receipt of a current practicing certificate and are bound by a mediator’s code of ethics. They are required to engage in ongoing continuing professional development (CPD) in mediation and are subject to independent regulation.  Their members and  their specialities can be checked on themii.ie website.

Community Mediation FAQs

What is community mediation?

Community mediation is a conversation between two or more people that disagree, led by a trained, neutral mediator. Mediation is a less expensive, time-saving alternative to court. In mediation the disputing parties have the chance to settle their differences in a safe, confidential and efficient manner. Mediation helps people get what they need, whether it’s peace and quiet, family unity, a financial settlement, or just a chance to be heard. Community mediators are professionally trained and committed to promoting peace in our communities in a safe flexible and encouraging environment.

What sort of disputes can be helped by mediation?

Mediation can help in any dispute where each side is willing to accept that by discussion and respectful negotiation, they may get an acceptable result preferable to either going to court, feuding, or ignoring the problem.

Some examples of disputes dealt with in mediation include:

Employer/Employee (such as co-worker disputes and supervisor/employee conflicts)

Separating couples (custody, mortgage repayments other relationships)

Business (partnership dissolution, contracts, real estate, gallery/artist)

Neighbourhood disputes (such as noise, nuisance property, animals, and lifestyle differences)

Landlord-Tenant (rent, security, deposit, repairs, damages)

Consumer/Merchant (home improvement/repairs, service, merchandise, warranty)

Family (including couples, custody, siblings, cross-generational, and parent-teen conflicts])

School (such as those among students and/or between parents, staff, and administration

Insurance (disputes between insurance companies themselves and /or their insured.

Roommate/Housemate

Public sector disputes (disputes with local authorities)

What happens if one party refuses to mediate?

If one party refuses to mediate then mediation is not for you. Mediation is voluntary and the process can only take place if both parties agree to participate in good faith.

What about confidentiality?

Confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of mediation. All communication during the process is confidential with certain limited exceptions such as a threat to life or in cases of child abuse or the abuse of a vulnerable adult. The mediator cannot disclose what is said in mediation and will only disclose that mediation has taken place if asked by a judge in a court. The mediator will only disclose if mediation was held or not held. All parties agree that they are entering into the process with full confidentiality in place and will be asked to sign a document by the mediator to that effect. This in effect means that the process itself and all verbal or other communication during the process are totally confidential. The parties can waive this process or elements of it only by mutual agreement.

Will the Mediators suggest solutions?

The benefit of mediation is that the participants are encouraged to offer solutions to their own particular disputes .The mediator’s primary role is to assist the parties in their discussion, so they are able to hear each other and decide how they wish to address the problem. The mediator will remain impartial, will not judge or make decisions and see that the process is fair to all concerned. In some circumstances when the participants are at an impasse they have asked the mediator if they might have any suggestions to make. Most mediators will offer possible solutions in the form of options in times of impasse and if the participants are willing to solve the problem. Ultimately, it is the parties’ decision as to what is best for their situation. The mediator will facilitate the discovery of any possible solution by skilful questioning of and discussion with the parties.

How do I know mediation will be fair?

Mediators are impartial. The mediator does not take sides, or make decisions and is there for all the participants. The mediator will ensure that the process takes place in a neutral venue and is conducted in a safe friendly environment. If the mediator detects any deviation from these norms or if a serious power imbalance emerges he/she will stop the process. In addition any participant can stop the mediation process at any time; mediation will only go ahead if all the participants want it to.

How much does it cost?

For most mediation sessions (with the exception of complex financial or legal matters) the mediator charges a fixed hourly fee to be paid by both parties equally unless they agree otherwise.

Usually JH Mediation will charge:

Pre-mediation meetings – €100 per person

Joint mediations sessions hourly – €100 per person

Settlement meeting (separate from Joint mediations) – €100

Travel allowance (not applicable in Letterkenny) – €0.40/km

Cost of meeting rooms, usually (for half a day) – €110

EXAMPLE: Typical mediation with 2 hour joint session with no separate settlement session:

Mediators fee – €600

Conference room – €110

Total – €700

Cost per person – €350