Mediation is where parties to a dispute agree to use a third party to help facilitate a settlement.
The mediator does not make any decision. The parties if they can arrive at a settlement and then it is usually written down. Once all parties to the mediation agree then the dispute is resolved.
There are no maxima. The extent of the parties involved is really only governed by the size of the accommodation and the ability of the mediator to cope with the numbers. All of the parties involved in the dispute should be there so that if a resolution can be found it can be agreed.
It is correct that some of the most challenging mediations are those that stem from relationship problems but mediation is used to resolve all kinds of problems. Personal Injury claims, clinical negligence claims, professional claims, boundary disputes, property and will arguments, consumers arguments, service claims and just about anything can be mediated if the parties agree.
The expense depends upon how long it all takes and the experience of the mediator. Usually fees are determined by the value of the issues at stake but a full half day might be as cheap as £500. Compare that with the cost of going to Court.
The Civil Mediation Council has lists of approved mediators. Also there are some providers on the net that will provide you with the skills summaries of their panel of mediators.
Going to mediation and having a lawyer are not inconsistent. Some mediated cases are already within the Court process when they are mediated. It is very common for the lawyers to be involved as well as the lay clients.
Don’t believe it. When the parties are nearing Court and they realise what is at stake then it is sometimes surprising how cases will settle. Even if cases don’t settle sometimes issues that were a stumbling block are agreed leaving a much shorter hearing at Court and less costs. Sometimes cases will not settle at the mediation but will settle afterwards by use of a telephone call or email.
Once a settlement has been agreed and recorded yes.
Mediations allow discussion and offers to be made without prejudice to any Court hearings. Only matters that are agreed can be used later so discussion is made easier.
Also the skills of the mediator are important. A skilled mediator can oil the wheels of a settlement discussion and encourage the participants to look at what the others think.