Mediation is an unbiased problem-solving tool regarding legal matters that allows Parties to circumvent a lengthy and expensive court process. It provides an alternative route to a peaceful resolution, saving time, money, and needless frustration.

However, mediation ground rules are necessary to conduct an effective and efficient session. To make sure your mediation goes smoothly, please keep in mind the following ground rules:

1. Avoid Interruptions

Interrupting another person involved in the communication reduces clarity, causes confusion, and may lead to unwanted misinterpretation.  Be mindful, listen intently to the speaker, and allow them to complete what they have to say while waiting for your turn to speak.

2. Ask for Clarification When Needed

If you need clarification, pose an unassuming question and ask what the person is referring to, what they mean exactly or simply clarify their statement.

3. Listen with Your Heart

Instead of overthinking it, listen with your heart instead of your left brain. Mediation is not the time to try to read between the lines which could lead a person to misconstrue information, making communication difficult.

4. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Rein in your emotions, stay calm, and remember that mediation is a problem-solving tool. It is an opportunity to listen to the other party and to voice your questions and concerns.

5. Do Not Hesitate to Request a Break

When you need a break, politely ask for it. Breaks are not a problem when properly communicated, but please do not just walk out of the meeting unannounced.

6. Be Respectful of Time

Please be respectful of time. Arrive on time for the mediation, stay on topic and stay focused.

7. Request a Joint or Separate Meeting to Keep it Civil

Most mediation sessions are conducted jointly.  However, if there is high conflict with the other party, you may request a separate meeting to help keep things civil.

8. The Mediator Does Not Give Legal Advice

The Mediator’s role is not as a hired attorney presiding over the mediation to give legal advice to any party. Please do not ask for legal advice.

The Mediator is an unbiased legal professional who assists each party in listening and understanding the other side’s arguments and perspectives by reframing words and statements without the complex underlying emotions. The objective is to review the facts and the law, the needs and interests of the Parties to find a resolution.

9. Legal Education, Not Legal Advice

The Mediator may, however, explain relevant laws for clarification or educational purposes. Sometimes, it may help the parties understand the problem-solving process and reach an agreement if they can grasp certain aspects of the law and how it applies to their case.

10. Always Copy Other Party in Communicating with the Mediator

When you copy the other party on communications, it helps keep everyone on the same page. It prevents confusion and misinterpretation while promoting a successful mediation session.

Finally – Mediation Ground Rules are extremely important.  When you follow mediation ground rules, you contribute to a better or more productive experience that provides the best opportunity for a positive outcome for everyone involved. We can help you with any questions or concerns about the mediation process and ground rules.