Before the joint mediation process begins, the mediator consults with everyone separately in an individual private session, to understand your perspective on the conflict. This allows the mediator to assess the suitability of your case for mediation, learn the various points of view on the conflict, as well as any possible factors that may hinder the process. At this stage, relevant documents and information can also be identified, obtained and exchanged. The joint mediation session then follows.
Joint Mediation Session:
Everyone who has settlement authority will attend the joint mediation session. An independent, neutral, legally-trained mediator lays out the guidelines of the discussion, as well as the roles of the parties involved. Concerns raised by both sides are explained and summarized, and the participants agree that these will form the agenda of topics for the joint mediation session. We advise and encourage everyone to consult their lawyer prior to and during the discussion, however it is not a requirement for lawyers to attend a joint session of the resolution process. While the mediator controls the process, you agree on who speaks first and both sides control the flow of discussion. As topics are covered, options for resolution are generated and evaluated until everyone arrives at a mutually satisfying outcome – legally and personally. Once agreed on a resolution, the mediator has it documented and signed by all parties, and you may wish to have the outcome sent to your lawyers and any other stakeholders involved in the dispute to be legally formalized.
Individual Private Session:
At times, the joint session can become intense, and you can take a break if you feel stressed. Our mediator will then speak with you privately to check in with you about your experience in the joint mediation session, as well as explore possible outcomes and reality-test them in private. This discussion is not revealed to the other side unless permitted by you. When you are ready, the joint mediation session resumes for further negotiations and exchanges of offers and settlement.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):
A Memorandum of Understanding or MOU is a documented record of the outcome once agreement is reached during a joint mediation session. It signifies an intention to negotiate a contract in the future, and can be legally formalized by your lawyer. An MOU is not intended to be a legally binding document, and it’s primary purpose is to ‘kick-start’ an agreement or formal legal document, if you wish to have one. It allows you to consider how the outcome developed in the mediation will work and gives you an opportunity to get legal advice before signing a legally binding agreement. An MOU is also ‘without prejudice’, i.e. it cannot be used as evidence of what you may or may not have agreed to during the mediation.