Monday, October 30, 2006

Mediation Cancellation Fees

When scheduling a mediation, it is always a good idea to check with your mediator regarding his/her cancellation policy. Most mediators have their cancellation policy clearly outlined on their website so there is no question about the details.

My own cancellation policy (on my website here) requires full payment from the cancelling party when I am given fewer than 5 days notice, but only if another mediation cannot be scheduled in its place. I know other mediators who require 7 to 10 days advance notice of a cancellation in order to avoid paying the full day's fees.

The reason for such a policy is that I have reserved the entire day (or a full 4 hours right in the middle of the day for half day mediations) for the mediation and I am therefore unable to make any other appointments or schedule any other mediation during that reserved time. Other clients who wish to make appointments for meetings or for mediation, must push their appointments until later dates to accommodate the mediations I already have on calendar. When someone cancels a full day's appointment block with me with short notice, my entire week is thrown off and I could have taken other clients had I known in advance that my entire day would be open.

I do have exceptions to this rule, but it's done on a case-by-case basis. For mediating parties and their counsel, it is always best to find out the mediator's cancellation policy up front, and to schedule a reminder for yourself to confirm the mediation before the short notice period begins to avoid paying cancellation fees.

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