Who attends the mediation?

All parties must attend the mediation session. If a party is represented by a lawyer, the lawyer may also attend. A lawyer may not attend in the place of a party.

For the mediation to proceed, parties must have the authority to settle the case and be willing to participate to settle.

Where is the mediation held?

The mediation may be held at any location that is convenient and acceptable to the parties, including the mediator's office, the office of one of the parties, a lawyer's office, or at the court house.

What happens during a mediation session?

The parties, the mediators and their lawyers (if lawyers have been hired) are the only ones who have a right to be present in mediation. No one else may attend without the parties' consent. What is said remains private. Information arising from the mediation cannot be used outside the mediation for any court purpose.

There is an intake process which allows the mediator to ascertain the types of issues that need to be resolved and also to decide which mediator from the centre would be best suited to the client.

Before the mediation session begins, the mediator explains the mediation process and reviews the terms of the mediation. These may be set out in a written "agreement to mediate." Although mediation is an informal process, the mediator structures the discussion so that the mediation will be productive. All parties have an opportunity to present their side of the story, to explain what is important to them and to ask questions. The mediator will help the parties to explore settlement options. The mediator may meet separately with each of the parties either before the session begins or during the session.

How long is the mediation session?

There is no mandated time frame. The length of a mediation session and the number of sessions required depend on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the case, how well the parties have prepared for the mediation, how far they have progressed in settlement discussions and whether the mediation process is working.

What if an agreement is reached at mediation?

If the agreement settles the case, the defendant or the defendant's lawyer must file a notice with the court advising of the settlement within 10 days of the agreement being signed (or, in the case of a conditional agreement, within 10 days of the condition being satisfied). After the mediation, they will prepare a report that is provided to the parties reflecting what was agreed upon. The parties are then instructed to take the report to their lawyers who will then prepare an agreement.

What if the case does not settle at the mediation?

Settlement of the lawsuit is not the only positive outcome of a mediation. A mediation is considered successful even if the parties do not settle but gain a better understanding of the other side's position. This is also true if they have narrowed the issues, settled some of the issues, or if they have agreed on a process to resolve issues later in the proceedings. Issues arising out of the mediation continue through the court process.

Who pays for mediation?

The parties pay mediators directly for their services. Each party is required to pay an equal share of the mediator's fees.

How much does mediation cost?

It varies on the complexity and the time required for each case. Mediators are usually paid by the hour. Some are paid directly after each session while others might request a financial retainer beforehand. Fees are discussed in detail at your intake appointment.

What should parties consider when choosing a mediator?

Both lawyers and non-lawyers are qualified and trained to mediate disputes. It is important that all parties are comfortable with their mediator. Some points to consider when hiring your mediator:

•the mediator's training, experience, knowledge about the issues, ie. a social worker or psychologist to resolve issues around custody/access. you may want to use a seasoned lawyer to resolve issues involving property.

•the mediator's approach to mediation

•the mediator's fees and expenses

•the mediator's references

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Windsor Essex Mediation Centre

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