What is Mediation?
Mediation is a type of dispute resolution, in which the parties attend meetings with an independent, impartial and qualified mediator. That person is able to guide the process and assist the parties in narrowing the issues in dispute and negotiating toward a solution which is reached by the participants themselves. In mediation, a trained mediator helps you to negotiate your own terms of agreement in a safe space, while addressing the needs and interests of all involved. Mediation allows you to make your own decisions, either outside the court system or in tandem with your solicitors and the courts. This may be more advantageous to you as opposed to having decisions made for you in court by a Judge and which often may not reflect what you actually need.
Protecting future relationships
Mediation is a constructive and co-operative process, with an emphasis on identifying and protecting mutual interests. Many participants to disputes will have an ongoing relationship with one another after the process and therefore wish to choose a method of dispute resolution which is unlikely to heighten tension or to inflict irreparable harm to their relationship. Mediation can often be best option in such cases.
Advantages of Mediation
- Mediation is a much faster and cheaper alternative to Litigation or other court processes.
- Mediation gets you the remedies YOU want and which are not imposed by others.
- Mediation is a voluntary process.
- Mediation is private and confidential unlike court appearances.
- Mediation is both informal and convenient to meet YOUR needs.
- Mediation is assisted by a neutral third party.
- Mediation has a high rate of compliance with settlements reached.
- Mediation helps preserve and protect ongoing relationships into the future.
- Mediation has a high success rates. Nearly 90% of mediations result in an agreement
For mediation to work, both parties must confirm their willingness to attend. There is no formal timetable or procedure. It is a flexible process which can be shaped to the needs of the parties and their particular circumstances. Mediation is a process, which means there is a structure and formula in how it is delivered. With the help of a mediator, the participants systematically consider each issue, explore their options and come to decisions. The parties are encouraged to get expert advice such as legal or financial advice to ensure that they can make informed decisions that they both find acceptable. The mediator remains impartial and does not take sides.
The parties initially meet individually with the mediator in a pre-mediation meeting (usually 1 hour) in order for him/her to get an idea of the exact issues to be discussed.
The participants then have a joint session with the mediator in a neutral venue and the first joint session usually takes 2 hours. The mediator may suggest with the agreement of the participants to adjournments as necessary to sort out the issues involved.
One of the cornerstones of mediation is confidentiality. Mediation often deals with sensitive and private matters and the process is totally confidential. All participants, and anybody else in attendance, will be required to agree to keep matters private. A mediator will in most sessions hold private conversations with each participant and will never disclose to the other participants the content of those discussions, save for where permitted to do so by that participant. What occurs during mediation will (with some rare exceptions) be considered to be “without prejudice” and therefore inadmissible in any other proceedings. The courts have deemed any issues discussed in mediation as privileged and not to be disclosed.
Your mediator has no interest in the outcome of the dispute and he/she will demonstrate neutrality throughout the mediation process. This is an important element to the mediation process and both parties will soon gain confidence in the mediator’s impartiality from the start.
Mediation is about the participants. Everything – from the timing, venue, to procedure, to any eventual settlement is in the control of the participants by agreement. The participants know their dispute better than anybody else and they are usually best-placed to decide how to go about seeking resolution suitable to them. They have the flexibility to reach whatever settlement best suit their individual needs.
How long does it take?
Mediation usually takes between 2 and 3 sessions depending on the complexity of the issues. Each session lasts approximately 2 hours, but it is often the case if things are progressing this may be extended.
The participants agree beforehand to share the cost equally and payment is made in advance. The costs usually entail the hiring or a room(s) in a neutral venue for half a day and the fees of the mediator which are usually calculated on an hourly rate.
It is a comparatively cheap informal and speedy process especially when compared to the legal fees and delay involved in court litigation and is seen as a cost effective method of resolving a dispute
For most mediation sessions (with the exception of complex financial industrial or legal matters) the mediator charges a fixed hourly fee to be paid by both parties equally unless they agree otherwise.
Pre-mediation meetings – €100 per person
Joint mediation 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 – €710
Cost per person – €355
Vat is not charged at this time for these services.
Any settlement arising from the process known as a Mediated Settlement can either be verbal or put into writing and under the Mediation Act 2017 the participants can state if they do not wish it to be binding. You can bring this document to a solicitor if you wish to be drawn into a legal contract or deed of separation or use it as the basis for a decree of divorce.