Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Is Mediation Like Trial?"

Mediation is not anything like a court trial so there will be no testifying, no cross-examination, no objections and no judge to make decisions about your case. This is why I always tell mediation participants to relax because nobody is going to do anything without their permission - it's up to them to decide what happens...

In some civil cases, it makes sense for each side to give some sort of opening remarks when all parties and counsel are sitting around the mediation table in joint session. But if one side is extremely uncomfortable with such an arrangement, then it doesn't happen. But usually, at some point in a mediation, it makes sense to get all the participants sitting around the same table to hear or exchange some important pieces of information - whether it's a heartfelt apology, or some new information that has just been discovered or "realized" as important to the negotiations or the case.

Whether everyone is sitting at the mediation table together or the parties are in their own separate rooms speaking privately with the mediator, it is a more relaxed atmosphere and is nothing like being in court with a court reporter and a judge scrutinizing everything that is said and done.

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