With the Courts warning that a failure to properly negotiate may lead to sanctions and a significant backlog of cases leading to long delays before hearings are listed many people are keen to try to avoid litigation and utilise different processes that can potentially cost less and result in a far swifter conclusion.
How does “hybrid” mediation differ to the “traditional family” mediation format ?
Hybrid mediation is a combination of the civil and family models of mediation. It allows the legal representatives of the participants to be directly involved and the mediator to keep confidences and move between the participants (and their lawyers if they are involved) in order to assist in the participants reaching a compromise. Having your lawyers present at the mediation means that you do not have to delay discussions in order to consult with your respective solicitors and it also allows the lawyers to record and draft agreements as soon as they are reached.
What is the usual duration of a hybrid mediation ?
Once the participants and mediator have decided that hybrid mediation would suit the circumstances it is possible to set up a bespoke hybrid mediation session for the duration that the participants and their lawyers feel would offer the best chance of settlement (people very often opt for a half day mediation but some prefer a full day)
When would this format generally be used ?
This format of mediation is often used if the issues in the case are complex or where separate meetings (supported by lawyers) are perceived to be of benefit. Some participants worry about there being an imbalance of power or being unable to fully voice their own opinion within a traditional family mediation and this format reduces or eradicates those concerns.
What role do the lawyers play?
Lawyers who are planning to become involved in hybrid mediation will attend a meeting with the mediator to discuss their role, the information that needs to be supplied, the format of meetings and the Agreement to Mediate that they will need to sign. Once hybrid mediation begins their role is to support the participant, provide “on the spot” independent legal advice and draft documents if agreement is reached.
What are the benefits of confidential meetings?
Confidential meetings can redress any perceived power imbalance or disadvantage for the participants and it is possible to discuss potential outcomes with the mediator without committing to these or feeling that the other participant now has an expectation that matters will be concluded in that way.
How do the costs compare to Family mediation?
In the traditional format the participants share the costs of the mediator in whatever share that they agree. In a hybrid mediation that remains the case but each participant is additionally responsible for meeting their own lawyer’s fees. This process can, however, prove very cost effective as the fact that the lawyers are present means that the need for meetings between mediation sessions is reduced as is the need for correspondence between the participant’s respective lawyers.
Who should I contact to arrange a hybrid mediation and what will the process be?
If you have a solicitor they can help you access the database of lawyers who are trained in the hybrid model – there is also a list at www.resolution.org.uk
The clerks at Becket Mediation are able to talk you through the steps that would be necessary to start the process with our mediator Louisa Adamson who is trained in Family, Commercial and Civil and Hybrid mediation.