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Process & Basic Rules

Structure and basic rules play a significant role in ensuring the quality of Mediation. The structure of the Mediation process makes it possible to distinguish certain phases (see below). During the Mediation sessions the mediator and the parties usually sit around a table (face-to-face Mediation sessions), but in certain situation it might be appropriate to have a private meeting (mediator meets with only one party). These sessions occur during the Mediation process if the mediator or a party wishes to discuss an issue in private. Depending on the nature of the dispute, frequent separate sessions (shuttle Mediation) might be necessary.

There are some basic rules, which are applicable to all phases and certain rules that only apply in specific phases.

The Mediation procedure is usually divided into the following phases:

Introduction

The Mediation itself begins with an open session where the mediator explains the process, its goal, the basic rules, his role, the role of the participants, the extent of duty of confidentiality, the fees, the juridical aspects concerning the agreement to mediate and legal aspects related to the final Mediation agreement, and answers all questions. The mediator will make sure that the parties are participating voluntarily. A fee will be agreed on with the parties and they will be asked to sign an agreement to mediate that includes the fees and sets out the terms of Mediation. Meetings usually do not take place in your or the other parties office, but at a neutral venue.

In order to avoid unnecessary delaying of the Mediation process, the parties should come prepared. This means that the appropriate persons (e.g. persons with the ultimate decision-making power), or experts (e.g. an engineer or the project leader) get together around the table. Furthermore all important documents shall be ready to hand.

Defining the issues

During this phase the parties present their perspectives on the conflict without being interrupted. They clarify the dispute and create an agenda. This agenda will serve as a framework for the Mediation process, helping staying on task and accomplishing the things that need to be done.

Basic rules: During this phase, parties take turns in speaking and do not interrupt or blame each other. Mediation is a transparent process, so parties should directly clarify all arising questions.

Bring out the interests

In this phase the parties identify their interests and needs which lie behind the determined agenda topics. The reasons why certain agenda topics are important to the parties will be clarified.

Basic rules: During this phase, parties take turns in speaking and do not interrupt or blame each other. Mediation is a transparent process, so parties should directly clarify all arising questions.

Solution elaboration phase

This part of the Mediation process involves generating creative solutions to settle the dispute. It is a kind of a brainstorming session, to encourage the parties to suggest as many options as possible. The more options, the higher the chance of reaching a sustainable agreement. This is crucial to find future-oriented solutions.

Special rules: There is no turns speaking. During this phase, parties are not allowed to criticize the suggested solutions.

Selection, evaluation and further elaboration of the best solution

Now the parties begin working on considering the developed options. It is the parties’ task to find the most practicable option with the highest potential to satisfy everyone’s interests.

Special rules: During this phase, parties cast a critical eye over the suggested solutions and make a reality check.

Sign the Mediation agreement

In the last phase, the parties formalize the settlement. The result of Business Mediation is typically a binding and enforceable contract (Mediation agreement). A written Mediation agreement is not mandatory, but in Business Mediation the agreement normally will be signed. 

Review meeting

If required the parties can meet with the mediator again to discuss how the agreement worked in practice. And - if necessary - can alter it. Sometimes unexpected variables might make it necessary to overwork the Mediation agreement. 

Project Partners

  • Eurochambres, Brussels, Belgium (Project coordinator)
  • Brussels Enterprises, Commerce and Industry Belgium
  • Croatian Chamber of Economy
  • Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Economy
  • Centre for Mediation and Arbitration of Paris, France
  • Handelskammer Hamburg Service GmbH, Germany
  • The Union of Italian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture
  • Open University of Italian Chambers of Commerce
  • Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Iasi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Romania
  • Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation, Spain