Members of GCM have been successfully mediating by telephone for some time. It has been considered a second-best option where costs and distance prevented the preferred option of a face to face, three room mediation in attractive rooms in Chambers. Dr Mary Malecka posts how over the past few months it has become apparent, that there are positive benefits to choosing to mediate using a remote platform.
Zoom has exploded into our lives and experience since early 2020 and has changed everything for all of us. We are using it for meetings, work, schooling, social events, choirs, exercise classes, dating, advertising – there is no limit to how we have adopted this platform. In dispute resolution services across the board, although not the only platform, zoom is used in particular, in conducting mediations.
The advantages of any remote mediation such as saving costs and avoiding the need to travel are added to by other advantages. Participants in a prospective mediation who are in the more vulnerable position, know they will be able to engage with their counterparty from a safe space. They know they will be able to see and be seen, without having to be in the physical presence of the other. In a zooming virtual mediation, parties go into Breakout Rooms with their lawyers, lawyers can meet in a separate Breakout Room easily, parties and counterparties can all move back into a meeting all together as and when the mediator sees this might be useful, and back to their private rooms as necessary, all seamlessly, efficiently and hassle free. Parties can focus on arriving at an agreement, rather than being distracted by logistics of finding their way round an unfamiliar environment. The exchange of documents and the preparation of the terms of the parties’ agreed resolution to the dispute can be done by email exchange between lawyers, just as would happen in a face to face mediation with the lawyers in separate rooms with their clients.
YouTube has a number of video examples of the process of conducting a mediation using Zoom and other platforms. There are guidelines and suggestions widely available. If you have any doubts about the efficacy of mediating remotely, please get in touch. All parties have a technical check with their appointed mediator prior to the date of the mediation to ensure parties can get the most out of the mediation.