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Mayors & City of London Court Mediation Scheme

A Guide for Parties preparing for Mediation
The purpose of mediation is to build common ground between parties in order to resolve a dispute and
participants need to take an active role if a solution is to be found. A mediation will generally commence with
all the parties meeting in one room. After this open session, each side will likely go to separate rooms and
the mediator will visit each in turn. These are private sessions.
Before the mediation
Before the date of the mediation, you should try to prepare. You want the mediator and the other side to
understand your case. The mediator will usually have read the particulars of claim and the defence before
the mediation takes place
Decide what the best way of explaining your position is. It may be helpful for you to make a list of the
strengths and weaknesses of your case and, if you can, the strengths and weaknesses of the other sides
case. Remember that the mediator will be looking for solutions, which are in your best interest. The
mediator will not tell you what your rights are.
Mediation is also not a substitute for legal advice. If you need advice, and are not legally represented at the
mediation, try to take advice before the day fixed for the mediation. You do not have to be legally
represented, but a solicitor will be helpful, particularly if the dispute is complicated or if there seems to be a
difficult legal problem.
If you have a language difficulty, ensure you bring an appropriate interpreter with you. You should also
inform the mediation administrator (the City Disputes Panel) that you will be relying on this help.
Evidence and document preparation
Bring along any important documents (originals where possible), for example receipts to show you have paid
money in dispute.
If you are a company or a partnership or a person who needs approval from someone else (such as insurers)
before you can settle the dispute, make sure you either bring the other person along (or have phone access
to them during the mediation) or have something in writing from them showing that they have given you their
Mental preparation
Be prepared to negotiate and to share responsibility as you see it. Emotions may be running high try to be
objective. Some important questions to consider could be:

How important is it to maintain a good relationship with the other party involved?
How much can I afford to spend on resolving this issue?
How long can I afford for this to go unsettled?
How important is it that this issue remains confidential?

It may also be useful to consider how the other party will approach these questions.
Think discussion and not argument, meeting room and not courtroom. Focus on your interests -- not your
City Disputes Panel M&C 13

The mediation day
You can go to the mediation by yourself or with a friend or a legal adviser/solicitor. Clearly, those present at
the mediation should have authority to settle.
Mediators have different ways of working, but what usually happens is that everyone involved will first meet
in one room. The mediator will make sure everyone knows who is present and will briefly explain the
process. Each side then has the chance to tell the mediator and the other side what their case is about and
what they are looking for. Each side may take 10 to 15 minutes to put their point of view. Each side should
explain how they see the dispute, its cause and what needs to be addressed during the mediation if progress
is to be made.
Remember that the mediator is not a Judge. When you present your case in the open session try to get
across to the other side what you think the dispute is about. Do not worry about details; the mediator can
find out about these in the private sessions.
Be brief. If you feel difficulty in talking about the case when the other side is present, tell the mediator. He or
she may decide to start private sessions straightaway.
At some point after this initial meeting both sides will retire to separate rooms with the mediator operating as
the go between. In these private sessions try to work with the mediator to find a solution. Be frank. You
may know something that will help the mediator in talking to the other side. The mediator must not tell the
other side what he or she has been told unless given permission to do so. When the mediator is with the
other side, use your time. Think about what has been discussed. Consider what you may be able to offer or
accept. Decide exactly what your needs are. The frequency with which the parties will reconvene during the
mediation depends largely on the mediator and the progress made in reaching an agreement.
By moving between sides, carrying information, suggestions, ideas, explanations or offers, the mediator will
seek to help everyone to reach a solution to their dispute.
The settlement agreement
If agreement is reached, the mediator will bring everyone together again and a Mediation Report for the court
and if needed an additional settlement agreement will be drawn up and signed. If you reach agreement,
remember that it will be binding on you and the court proceedings will end.
Make sure you can comply with the agreement.
If there is no settlement
If you do not reach an agreement, the mediator will notify the court. The normal court timetable will then
continue and the legal action will resume. Even if the mediation does not end with agreement between the
two sides, you may find it was helpful and that each side understands the others point of view more clearly.
You can always try to settle the case later but remember that once the legal action continues costs are likely
to build up on both sides.
Remember that everything discussed during the mediation appointment is confidential and cannot be
repeated once proceedings go back to court.

City Disputes Panel M&C 13