What Is Mediation?


Mediation is a process by which parties submit their dispute to an impartial third-party (the mediator) who works with them to reach a settlement of their dispute.  Mediation is an extension of the negotiating process.



What is a Mediator?


Our mediators are carefully selected and trained to advanced level through our training programmes. Mediators come from a variety of backgrounds.  Each of our mediators has been trained in mediation skills and closely evaluated to determine the level of skills attained. Only very respected and experienced individuals are selected and trained by the Mediate NI to be mediators. The mediators on our panel are chosen to serve on a particular case based on their expertise in the area of the dispute.



What types of dispute can be resolved through mediation?


Mediation can be conducted on an individual or organisational basis and in voluntary and statutory organisations.


Most types of civil disputes can be resolved by mediation.


Submitting your dispute to Mediate NI will not cause delay to any pending legal process you may be involved in.



Can I mediate if my dispute is already in Court?


Yes, your dispute can be mediated even if Court proceedings have already begun.



What are the benefits of mediation?


The benefits of successfully mediating a dispute to settlement vary, depending on the needs and interests of the parties. The most common advantages are that: -


  1. Parties are directly engaged in negotiating the settlement;
  2. The mediator, as an impartial third party, can view the dispute objectively and can assist the parties in exploring alternatives that they might not have considered on their own;
  3. Because mediation can be scheduled at an early stage of the dispute, a settlement can be reached much more quickly than in litigation;
  4. Parties generally save money through reduced legal costs and less staff time;
  5. Parties enhance the possibility of continuing a business relationship with each other;
  6. Parties can create their own solutions or accommodations.



How long does a mediation session take and what happens?


Once parties have agreed to submit their dispute to mediation and executed the appropriate forms, mediation can be conducted on the first mutually available date.


The parties may agree to have their mediation set for an earlier or later date depending on the circumstances of their case.


During a mediation session (which can usually last 1 – 1 ½ hours, but it can also take longer depending on the conflict) each party will get a chance to talk about their situation without any interruption. Then there will be an open discussion, and the mediators will help parties decide what the important issues are.  If an agreement is reached, the mediators will write it down and make sure it says what you want it to say.  Each party will sign and receive a copy to take home.



Who will be there?


Depending on the nature of the dispute, one or two trained mediators will run the session. We will discuss with you who will be invited, and who has agreed to attend.



When can mediation take place?


Mediation can originate in different ways: -


  • Mediation can occur when a dispute initially arises and before a legal process begins;
  • Mediation can occur as an adjunct procedure to pending litigation. That is, as soon as the parties file a lawsuit, they can use mediation in an effort to resolve the dispute at the inception of litigation or at any time thereafter but prior to a case going to court
  • Mediation can occur after a judgment has been rendered in litigation. There might be a disagreement over the meaning or manner of carrying out a judgement, or concern about the possibility of lengthy court appeals. The parties can seek the assistance of a mediator to help them resolve these problems.



How does it work?


Since mediation is voluntary, the parties must agree in writing that their dispute will be conducted under applicable rules and can be summarised under the following 4 phases: -


Phase 1

Request for mediation and submission to mediation – When a request is received and intake details obtained together with a brief outline of the dispute and it is established that the dispute can be mediated both parties will sign a “Consent to Mediate Form”


Phase 2

When the case officer has appointed the appropriate mediator/s to the case, the parties will be informed as to who the mediator/s is/are and are agreed


Phase 3

To prepare for the mediation, the disputants should define and analyse the issues involved in the dispute; recognise the parameters of the given situation (what you can realistically expect, time constraints, available resources, other legal remedies, etc.,); identify your needs and interests in settling the dispute; prioritise the issues in light of your needs; determine courses of action, positions and explore a range of alternative solutions; make your proposals reasonable and legitimate and be willing to accommodate needs of the other party; ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of your case; gather and be ready with your facts as you see them, documents, and sound reasoning to support your claims; anticipate the other party’s needs, demands, positions, version of facts as they see the situation, their strengths and weaknesses; focus on interests, not the position, of each party and develop your strategies and tactics in discussing issues, presenting proposals, testing other parties’ positions etc


Phase 4

The Mediation Session – The disputants should come to the mediation table prepared with all of the evidence and documentation they believe will be necessary to discuss their respective case.  People can bring their legal representatives or Trade Union member for advice purposes.  This should be clarified at the precise development stage. It is not usual that people would present witnesses at a mediation session although it can happen if it is the desired wish of both parties, then the following 6 stages: -


  1. Stage 1 of the mediation process will begin with a re-establishment of the ground rules covering each parties opportunity to talk without interruption, confidentiality, note taking, respect for each other, taking responsibility for what is said during the process and being receptive to each other. Mediators do not make judgements, nor do they try to prove who is right or wrong;
  2. Stage 2 now begins with each party getting equal time to outline their issues;
  3. Stage 3 the mediators clarify each party’s respective issues;
  4. Stage 4 is to draw up an agenda of those issues that are common to both.  It is from this agenda that they may begin to negotiate as to how they can create options for consideration, which may help them reach an accommodation or agreement with each other.
  5. Stage 5 is to write up any agreements that may have been reached;
  6. Stage 6 is to close the session where parties affirm their achievements (if any). If they have not reached agreements on all of the issues and are prepared to come back for a further mediation session, then the date, time and venue is established before everyone leaves.



How much will it cost/ How long will it take?


Cost will depend on the type of dispute and the amount of time involved.


The cost of the mediation process is usually borne by both parties equally or by the organisation/ company that engages Mediate NI.



What should I bring with me?


  1. Proof of personal identity - Passport; Driving Licence; National Identity Card; HM Forces Identity Card or equivalent or Travel Pass.
  2. Proof of place of residence - Utility Bill (electricity, phone, Rates, etc); Bank Statement; Pension Book; National Insurance Card; Driving Licence; Tax Demand.
  3. Copy documents and information – If you are wishing to produce documents or rely on information, you should bring these with you together with sufficient copies for whoever else is attending.


mediate | ni

mediation | conciliation | alternative dispute resolution


✆ +44 (0) 2871 365 636

✆ +44 (0) 7714 494 258

✉️  michael.doherty@mediateni.com

✉️ Clarendon Street Chambers

       67 Clarendon Street,

       Derry/ Londonderry BT48 7ER


✉️ Ebrington Chambers

       Cunningham Building, No.4 Ebrington Square,

       Waterside, Derry/ Londonderry BT47 6FR