Mediation is a voluntary process in which an independent mediator assists the disputing parties to negotiate over the issues that divide them. Mediators have no power to impose a settlement on the parties. As a legal process, mediation encourages co-operation and better communication as the parties explore and test their family, children and money options in a safe way. In doing so, mediation enables them to become the architects of their own agreement, which in turn typically leads to greater buy-in to the solution and less acrimony both during and after the process.
At Harcourt, we have a number of trained and experienced mediator barristers. Our mediators do not give specific legal advice to the parties in mediation or make recommendations. Instead, we help the parties appreciate the principles on which a court might act, and the range of potential outcomes and their full implications, both financial and personal, should the dispute proceed to fully contested litigation.
Mediation is by definition a flexible approach, adapting to the needs of the parties involved and covering single or multiple issues as required. We can support clients over several sessions with parties present, or, depending on the circumstances, conduct a shuttle facilitation between parties. Family mediation session usually last 1.5–3 hours.
Our priority is always to help parties to produce constructive, imaginative, fully documented and personally centred solutions to their disputes. Where joint proposals can be reached, our mediator will prepare a ‘mediation summary’ document or a ‘parenting plan’.
We also offer civil mediation services in TOLATA and inheritance claims. These can be effective in breaking down entrenched positions or enabling the parties to appreciate the issues more clearly.