The terms used below correspond to those that are defined in the Mediation Agreement.
How does Resolved Online provide affordable, confidential and voluntary mediation services?
The Mediation Fee is set out in the Terms of Business. It is transparent because the Parties are able to find out what the Mediation Fee will be before they agree to the Mediation. The Mediation Fee is affordable because the Mediator is not appointed by an organisation to which he would have to pay commission.
Mediation will be pursuant to the Mediation Agreement, which imposes obligations of confidentiality on the Mediator and the Parties from the time that the Mediator is appointed, including conversations and / or correspondence between the Mediator and a Party before the Mediation.
The Mediation is voluntary because the Mediation Agreement provides that either of the Parties may terminate the Mediation at any time without giving a reason.
When is the “right time” for Mediation?
According to the Civil Mediation Council:
‘It is difficult to think of a wrong time to mediate. However, it is often a matter of balancing risk against cost. The earlier in the dispute it is decided to mediate, the less detailed information will be available. …
In fact, mediation can take place at any time in the dispute, so long as the parties agree. Some occur before court proceedings, some take place whilst the trial, or arbitration, is taking place. Mediation is a voluntary process and so no party can be forced into taking part, although it has to be said that the courts expect parties to attempt to settle in mediation, or some other dispute resolution process, before going to a judge to find a settlement.’
Yes. The roles and responsibilities of the Parties and the Mediator are governed by the contract that they have agreed. That is, the Mediation Agreement.
The Mediation Agreement protects the Parties because, should a Party apply to overturn a settlement agreement written and signed after the Mediation on the basis that they did not understand the process, the court is more likely to refuse such an application because the roles, responsibilities and procedure of the Mediation are set out in the Mediation Agreement.
Do I need legal representation?
According to the Civil Mediation Council:
‘No, people often attend mediation without a lawyer but may well have taken advice from one before doing so. Advice is also available from some organisations [that] run schemes for a particular sector and some offer pro-bono or fixed-rate charges, particularly on the lower-value disputes.
Higher value disputes usually have lawyers present at the mediation as advisors. The principal participants in the mediation are those in dispute and it is important that one person on each side has authority to settle (preferably in full, so that the deal does not have to be ratified by an absent authority). Once the parties have reached a decision and it is put in writing and signed, it is binding on them as a contract.’
The Mediation Agreement provides that: 1) a Party does not require legal representation to attend the Mediation, however, a Party is free to choose whatever representation they wish; 2) where a Party is not legally represented, that Party is advised to obtain independent legal advice before, during and after the Mediation, and prior to finalising any settlement agreement pursuant to the Mediation; and 3) the Parties acknowledge and agree that the Mediator does not offer legal advice to, or otherwise act as a legal advisor for, any Party to the Mediation, nor will he identify, analyse or protect any Party’s position or rights.
Will the Mediator draft a settlement agreement?
No. The Mediation Agreement provides that the Mediator will not advise on, draft or settle a settlement agreement.
As any agreement or terms of settlement will be legally binding only when reduced to writing and signed by (or on behalf of) each of the Parties, where the Parties do not have a legal representative who is able to draft a settlement agreement, the Mediation Agreement advises them to obtain independent legal advice prior to finalising any settlement agreement.
What is the difference between “impartial” and “neutral”?
The Mediation Agreement provides that if the Mediator becomes aware of a circumstance that might reasonably be considered to affect his capacity to act impartially and neutrally, the Mediator will immediately: 1) inform the Parties; and 2) provide appropriate details.
The Mediator is “impartial” because he has agreed in the Mediation Agreement not to show favouritism to either party, he will allow each party the opportunity to prepare their case and address the mediator on the issues.
The Mediator is “neutral” because he has agreed in the Mediation Agreement that he has no interest in the outcome of the Mediation. If he has a prior personal or professional connection with any of the Parties, he will inform the Parties and provide appropriate details.
What experience of commercial, property and personal injury law does the Mediator have?
The Mediator also practises as a barrister at Lamb Chambers. His professional profile – including drop-down lists with summaries of recent instructions in matters involving commercial, property and personal injury law – is available by clicking here. Her Honour Judge Karen Walden-Smith (Senior Circuit Judge and Designated Civil Judge for the County Court in East Anglia) wrote that ‘Dominic Bright has set out all that a practitioner could possibly need to know about how to deal with a small claim’ in the foreword to ‘A Practical Guide to the Small Claims Track’ (Law Brief Publishing, December 2019).
Is the Mediator regulated?
Yes. Dominic Bright is a registered member of the Civil Mediation Council. According to the Civil Mediation Council:
‘Although there is no statutory regulation of mediators, the CMC runs a system of voluntary regulation for civil/commercial and workplace mediators and providers. Mediators and providers registered with the CMC abide by a Code of Conduct, have been trained to acceptable industry standards, have suitable insurance, carry out continuing training and development, and offer access to a complaints process if needed.’
What code of conduct does the Mediator abide by?
As a registered member of the Civil Mediation Council, the Mediator is required to abide by the European Code of Conduct for Mediators. It requires the Mediator to be competent and knowledgeable in the process of mediation, independent and impartial in administering mediation and to ensure that process of mediation is fair.
How do I complain about the Mediator?
The complaints procedure is set out in the Terms of Business. It complies with the minimum standards published by the Civil Mediation Council in January 2019. If the response to a complaint is not accepted, appeal on certain grounds may be made to the Civil Mediation Council.