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What is mediation?
Mediation is a structured dispute resolution process, which aids and supports parties to identify issues, develop options, consider alternatives and outcomes, and make decisions about future actions and behaviours. Mediation is run by an independent, unbiased mediator who guides and supports the parties through the process. The mediator does not give advice or make decisions about the dispute. The mediator manages the dispute resolution process, not the outcome. They facilitate communication between the disputing parties, and assist them to evaluate options.
How can mediation help me?
Mediation helps you create your own solutions to disputes and conflicts. It gives you the opportunity to explain how the issue impacts on you, and say how you would like things to change in the future. The other people involved in the dispute get to do the same thing, and together you will explore how to reshape your futures.
Because mediation is collaborative, any agreements are reached by consent. Such solutions tend to be more durable than court imposed solutions, because they are made to suit the parties’ needs.
Negotiated agreements can also be more flexible than court imposed solutions – through mediation you can agree to things that are outside the courts’ scope.
Even if you cannot resolve the dispute entirely through mediation, you can often narrow the points in dispute, which saves you time and money at the eventual court trial; instead of wasting resources proving each element of the argument, the parties can tell the judge what is agreed and what is in dispute.
What kind of disputes can be mediated?
Almost any dispute can benefit for mediation. If you are not sure if mediation is right for you, get in touch for a confidential, obligation-free chat.
What can I expect at mediation?
The dispute resolution process is adjusted to suit the needs of each unique dispute; however, there are some essential steps taken in each mediation.
Generally the day begins with everyone sitting together at a table. Each person present is introduced, and each party to the dispute makes a short opening statement outlining why they are at mediation. These opening statements help to identify the issues in dispute and the order in which they will be addressed. Often there are matters that can be agreed upon during this opening discussion, such as the value of items in dispute, or who is responsible for certain tasks and activities. The mediator will make a note of these points, and help you to make an agenda for the ongoing discussion. By consent, you, the other party/ies and the mediator decide how the mediation will proceed.
Ideally this joint session will continue with a discussion of each issue in turn. Each person involved in the dispute will have the chance to express their view and experiences, and to respond to the other’s views and experiences. The mediator will help keep the conversation moving in a constructive direction, adjusting and adding to the agenda is required, and ensuring that all issues are thoroughly aired and explored.
Once all of the issues have been discussed in joint session, the mediator will often meet with each party in private. The private sessions give you the opportunity to reflect on the mediation so far; to think about options or proposals for resolving the dispute; to think about what may happen if the dispute is not resolved; to share any confidential information with the mediator; and to prepare for negotiating with the other parties.
After meeting with each of you in private, the mediator will bring you back together to discuss options to resolve the dispute. This is your opportunity to put proposals to the other people involved, hear their proposals and work together to find a middle ground. If you do reach a workable solution, the agreement will be written up and singed by each of you on the day. If you are unable to resolve the dispute, the mediator will help you to agree on how the matter will proceed, whether that means obtaining more information or an expert’s opinion on the issues, proceeding to court, or some other alternative.
Who will be at mediation?
In addition to your mediator, the person or people authorised to enter into a binding agreement to end the dispute are required to attend mediation. This may be the owner of property, the CEO of a company, the head of a particular department, the executor and/or beneficiary of an estate, or the owner of an animal.
One of the foundations upon which mediation is built is consent. If you wish to bring a support person – including legal representation – in to the mediation room, you can only do so with the consent of all other participants. If that consent is not forthcoming, then your support team must wait for you outside the mediation room in another part of the venue. Where ever possible break out rooms are provided for each party to the mediation, and your supporters may make use of that space if available.
Each and every person in the mediation room is bound by confidentiality and will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before they can attend.
How long does mediation take?
Depending on the nature of the dispute, mediation may take half or a whole day, or may take several sessions spread over many days. As with all aspects of mediation, the format of your mediation is decided by consent. If you have special requirements, let me know, and I will try to accommodate your unique needs.
What should I bring to mediation:
- Pen and paper.
- Any documents relating to the matters in dispute. For example: any contract or lease agreement; valuations of assets in dispute; medical reports; payslips, profit and loss statements, tax returns and bank account statements.
- Any documents or information you might need to work out a resolution. For example: quotes, diagrams or sketches of proposed works/remedies; copies of any schedules or timetables that must be taken into account such as school holidays, work commitments or travel plans.
- Your diary or calendar so that you can make informed decisions about any timelines for actions you or the others involved may take.
- A bottle of water and some snacks. Each mediation session usually lasts at least 2 hours and can be hungry work.
Wear neat, comfortable, clean clothes, and bring layers in case it is warm or cool in the mediation room.
Who pays for mediation?
Unless you are attending a mediation provided by the court or some other free public provider, the costs of mediation is usually divided equally between the parties to the dispute; so, if there are 2 parties you pay half each; if there are 3 parties you pay a third each and so on.
Please note that RCB Mediation Services will charge you only for the mediator’s time; you may be required to arrange and pay for the venue in addition to the mediator’s fees.
How much does mediation cost?
Please contact RCB Mediation Services to discuss your needs and prepare an estimated fees guide.
How can I engage RCB MS?
The easiest thing to do is to call Rebecca to discuss your situation. We might have a lengthy phone conversation, or we might make a time to meet and discuss things in person. You could also visit my website and fill in the contact form, send me an email or write me a letter.
RCB Mediation Services does not charge for theses initial consultations. Charges only apply once a date for mediation has been set.
What is Elder Mediation?
Many elder Australians fear their voice will be lost when it comes to important health, wealth and lifestyle decisions. They worry that their views will be dismissed out of hand, ignored, or that decisions will be made without any consultation at all.
Elder Mediation is a specialised dispute resolution and supported-decision-making process that ensures your voice is heard and your point of view is taken into consideration when decisions are being made about your future.
Elder Mediation brings together everyone involved in the decision-making process. This may include the elder person, their family, friends and other support people. Elder Mediation creates an environment in which everyone has a chance to speak and be heard, to work together to resolve issues and make decisions.
Your initial consultation is free.
What is conciliation? How is conciliation different to mediation?
Conciliation, like mediation, is a structured dispute resolution process, run by an independent, unbiased conciliator. It is voluntary, confidential, flexible and is driven by the parties (unlike a court hearing which is usually driven by the court and the lawyers).
Conciliation provides the opportunity to identify and explore the core issues and interests underpinning the dispute, with a view to reaching a negotiated agreement. It can be conducted over one session or a series of sessions, depending on the needs and convenience of all involved. The structure and content of the conciliation are agreed to by the parties during the preliminary discussions.
Unlike mediation, the conciliator having heard all the issues and negotiations, may offer their view on the likely outcome should the matter go to trial. The conciliator does not make decision about the case and cannot compel the parties to take or refrain from taking any particular action; they can, however, put settlement proposals to the parties, which they are free to accept or reject. When proposing a settlement, the conciliator not only takes into account the parties’ legal positions, but also their commercial, financial and / or personal interests. It is this evaluative and advisory aspect that distinguishes conciliation from mediation.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration involves parties to a dispute appointing an independent third person (or persons) to evaluate the dispute and determine how it will be resolved. Unlike mediation and conciliation, an arbitrator does make decisions about the dispute and – subject to the terms of the arbitration agreement – those decisions are enforceable in the same way as a court judgment.
“Arbitration should be selected as the preferred process for dispute resolution when parties require defined procedures that are a subset of those available in court but without the delays, public access or formality. Arbitration also enables the dispute to be adjudicated upon by a tribunal familiar with the professional or technical background of the matters in dispute.” Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia