Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers has lawyers experienced in resolving disputes by mediation. As well as acting for you as your advocate to assist you in private mediations and mediations within the court system, you may appoint a lawyer from our firm to act as an independent mediator.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) facilitates open and constructive discussion between the parties to a dispute. The mediator does not offer advice or act as a decision-maker. Instead, the mediator guides the parties to come up with their own solutions to the problem.
Quite often, parties to a contract (such as a partnership agreement, or shareholders agreement), will nominate mediation as a method to resolve disputes. Even if there is no written agreement, people who are in business together, or in any kind of dispute (including family disputes), can agree to nominate a mediator to assist them to resolve the dispute as an alternative to the court process.
Mediation allows a much wider range of outcomes than traditional court claims. In court only one party can “win” but, in mediation, the parties are encouraged to think creatively to come up with an outcome in which, potentially, both parties can win.
The mediation process
The mediation process is flexible and will be adjusted to the particular circumstances. However, once all parties have agreed to participate, the mediator will usually contact each party separately, or arrange a short joint conference, to discuss the background of the dispute (called a preliminary conference or pre-mediation). This serves two main purposes: first, to assess whether the dispute is suitable for mediation, and second, to discuss how the mediation will be conducted, i.e., who will attend, availability, and what sort of facilities are required.
At the mediation itself, typically we will follow the Resolution Institute’s Model of Mediation (pictured below). Each level of the diamond relates to a distinct phase of the mediation process.
The mediator will guide the parties through the process and try to make sure that each phase is complete before moving on. It is important to keep in mind that mediation is not a race to the finish. Some disputes simmer away for many years before they finally boil over and, quite often, what one person says is the problem is actually only the tip of the iceberg.
The goal of mediation is to get to the bottom of the underlying problem, which can take time. In most cases, mediations will start in the morning and will go for approximately three to four hours. But parties will be encouraged to set aside the entire day, just in case that extra time is needed. In a complex dispute, it might take several full days to complete the mediation process.
Rob Lilley is an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS), having undertaken mediation training with the Resolution Institute, and is a member of the Law Society of Western Australia panel of mediators. Rob is a volunteer mediator at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau WA and also has experience in mediations as an advocate and extensive experience in dealing effectively with conflict from his time as a police officer.
In addition, Guy Douglas has years of experience in participating as an advocate in private mediations, and mediations within the Court system.
Mediation practice areas
When acting as a mediator, we charge between $250 – $350 per hour (incl. GST) depending on the mediator you chose, plus expenses (such as travel and venue hire, if required). For mediations attended by 6 people or less (including the mediator), we can host the mediation at our office without charging a fee for venue hire.
Fees can also be charged on a day rate or half-day rate.
Fees are usually split equally between the parties unless otherwise agreed.