Mediation Awareness Week 14 – 20 October 2017
Mediation Awareness Week sees a number of events organised UK-wide to show how mediation can be used to resolve a wide range of conflicts and disputes. Although mediation is on the increase, individuals, communities, educational establishments, businesses and other organisations are not always aware of how it works and how valuable it can be in many cases.
Briefly, mediation is an assisted negotiation between two or more parties. An independent and impartial mediator uses a distinct skill set to help the parties conduct a future-focused discussion in which they are encouraged to avoid entrenching themselves in positions and instead concentrate on the possibility of accommodating one another’s interests and needs. The objective is for the parties themselves to decide how to resolve the issue(s), possibly avoiding the risk of an unfavourable court decision or arbitral award. The process is confidential and cost-effective. It can be organised at any time (before, during or even after litigation or arbitration) and dealt with quickly. A large majority of mediations result in a settlement (the figures most frequently cited are in the order of 70–80%) and difficulties with implementing settlements are rare.
The events organised for Mediation Awareness Week cover a variety of areas, including property, medical, art, family, civil-commercial, communities, workplace, as well as process issues, mediation skills and role plays. I am especially looking forward to attending a session on "Breaking through the barriers: challenging mediation misconceptions and unmasking its mystery" organised and facilitated by Anna Howard (Solicitor, mediator and PhD candidate at The Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London) and taking place at the Centre, QMU on 19 October at 6pm.