How To Mediate
At SHAW Mediation Australia, our mediators are nationally accredited with a legal background. We all comply with the mediator standards and have ongoing professional development. Mediation is voluntary. Everyone agrees to participate. Everyone feels safe and supported. Everyone feels listened to and heard. Everyone has the opportunity to raise all his or her concerns. There is a process and a procedure to the mediation controlled by the mediator, which is flexible and tailored to you and your dispute. However, you do the talking, discussing, negotiating, brainstorming, reality testing and evaluating. Our mediators facilitate this and help you to communicate so you can achieve your outcome on all levels, legal and personal to you.
Initially, we speak separately with you and anyone else involved to discuss the circumstances that gave rise to your concerns and dispute to better understand your point of view. You are able to provide any documents to support your case, and air out grievances in your own words to provide us with a clear understanding of the issues.
During these preliminary individual meetings, we will also raise possible factors that can hinder the process, and make sure you consider possible outcomes including the best and worst case scenarios as well as any barriers to agreement for you. We inform you upfront of the fixed costs for resolution through mediation. All parties can then decide on the date, time and location of the discussion that they are comfortable with. Fees are paid upfront before the joint session.
Aside from this, we also recommend everyone to obtain legal advice, so that you are aware of the possible range of outcomes should you opt to go to court instead, as well as the likely time frame to trial and the costs of litigation.
Depending on the nature of the conflict, the preliminary meetings take about one hour.
When the day of the joint session arrives, everyone has a private room for space and to help reduce their stress and anxiety. The issues of concern for both parties are put on the table and summarised. Everyone then agrees on the agenda of topics for discussion.
Only those who have settlement authority attend the mediation. We usually start out by laying down the guidelines and rules of conduct for mediation and negotiation, and defining the roles of each participant. You are allowed and encouraged to consult your lawyer throughout mediation, but you are the one who speaks. You are in control, in a supportive and save environment.
You decide who speaks first. If the session becomes intense, you can take a break anytime. You can also terminate the mediation at any time. Our mediators might speak separately with you to understand how you feel and how the mediation is going for you. We will help you explore possible solutions and reality test those outcomes in private. This is not revealed to anyone without your permission. When you’re ready, negotiation is resumed, and as topics are covered, options for resolution are generated and evaluated until both parties arrive at a mutually satisfying outcome – legally and personally.
Once you have agreed to a mutually satisfying resolution, we have it documented and signed by everyone. It is your solution. The outcome is agreed by you, and not imposed on you by a mediator, court, tribunal or a judge. Following this, we send the agreement to your lawyers and any other agreed stakeholders involved in the dispute. Your solicitors formalise your agreement legally.
At SHAW Mediation Australia, the entire mediation process can take between three weeks to three months, depending on the nature of the conflict. In the end, we want you to feel relieved, empowered and satisfied because you have resolved your disputes on their own terms.
Alison Shaw of SHAW Mediation successfully mediated a contract and building works dispute for one of our clients. I found the mediation to be useful in requiring the disputing parties to be in one place at one time, allowing each side to express their position (and even vent their frustrations) whilst being kept in line by an experienced mediator. It was by no means certain to me beforehand that the matter would resolve at the mediation, but Alison’s guidance and systematic approach facilitated a commercial settlement. I am confident the parties would not have reached a better outcome if they had gone to court. I rate highly the mediation process used by Alison Shaw in this matter, and would recommend her to other clients considering mediation in the future.Matthew Hawke