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Mediating during the coronavirus outbreak – Online mediation and how it works

We at Independent Mediators have been trained to conduct mediations online. We are sure that most of you are familiar with Zoom, but for those who are not, or whose clients may be a little dubious about the process, we hope that this short introduction might help to assure your clients that there is no need to wait for the Corona virus to abate before resolving their disputes.

Most of us believe that mediation works best when parties and their lawyers meet face to face with each other and the mediator. We still believe that is true but in the current climate that is no longer a viable possibility for the unforeseeable future. We have been pleasantly surprised how effective mediations conducted by video have been. We are certain that once this crisis is over we shall revert to our accustomed practice but in the meantime this does offer an effective opportunity to help parties resolve disputes without waiting for the court process to reopen.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

This is how it operates. As with our normal practice we start the process once you have chosen IM to provide your mediator. All parties are sent a link and get online to Zoom. You do not have to pay a fee to join.

Once you accept the invitation to join the mediation you and your clients are placed in a virtual waiting room and once we are all together the mediator will explain the process as usual and make sure that everyone understands how the virtual mediation will work. After the preliminary introductions, the mediator will place each party into its own virtual room. The mediator can then speak to each party separately or with the parties together. Instead of actual ‘shuffle diplomacy’ between actual rooms, the mediator does the same virtually by switching online from room to room. When the mediator is not with you, just as with the usual mediation you and your clients speak privately together. Everyone can see all the people in any one room and they the mediator. If you have clients in different locations, they have their own screen but are placed into the same ‘virtual’ room. You decide who shall be in your room. You can send the mediator a message to come and see you and the mediator can put you together with other parties if you wish to have conversations with them.

Documents can be brought up and shown on screen where necessary.

Once settlement is reached and reduced to writing it can be sent to each party in turn for signature, scanning and finalisation.

We are delighted with how well this process works and we offer it to you and your clients as a means in these difficult and strange times of continuing to discharge our respective professional obligations to assist parties in dispute to an efficient and cost effective resolution if that is what they wish.

We are happy to answer any questions you or your clients may have.

USEFUL GUIDELINES AND ‘HOW TO’ GUIDE

Please click on the link below to see our online guidelines and a simple how to join a meeting

Online Mediation – How to use and some guidelines and ground rules

How to use Zoom – Users brief notes

 

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