If a mediation takes place before parties have commenced proceedings, information about the history of the matter is generally gleaned directly from the parties during the pre-mediation conferences.
In parenting matters, a short memo from the lawyers as to key facts and dates assists.
In property matters, again, a short memo of key facts and dates, ideally accompanied by an asset and liability schedule is very useful.
Where proceedings are already on foot, "Mediation Particulars' drafted by lawyers are not usually necessary. The court documents that have been filed and which best describe the parties positions for court will usually suffice. In those cases, the pre-mediation conference can be used to update on more recent developments, if any.
During pre-mediation sessions, parties will be given guidance and ‘food for thought’ when preparing the very important opening statement they will be asked to make to each other.
One of the most difficult tasks for parties and lawyers mediating on property matters is arriving at a joint schedule of assets and liabilities. Rachel is usually able to create a joint schedule with reference to information which has previously been exchanged between the parties. A pre-mediation conference for lawyers (usually for half an hour before the conference begins) is a recommended addition to the Mediation Style Conference. The lawyers' pre-mediation is free of charge. It is used to quickly exchange disclosure documents which have not previously been inspected or exchanged. Lawyers can also identify which assets will need to be independently valued. Often after the lawyers' conference, there is an agreed recommendation to both parties that some items have a value 'for the purpose of the day' but which items may require expert valuation of the matter if not entirely settled at the conclusion of the mediation.