A standard agenda for my Mediation Style Conferences is as follows:

  • (In property matters) Lawyers confer to discuss assets and liabilities schedules
  • Round-table meeting of parties and lawyers – opening statements
  • Setting the Agenda
  • Discussing issues around agenda items
  • Generating options for settlement
  • Identifying agreed options
  • Codifying the Agreement

Built into the mediation are a number of ‘private sessions’ so that parties can consult with their lawyers for the purpose of discussing possible settlement options and so that the parties can receive legal advice.  Rachel may join a party and their lawyer in a private session but, in the same way as occurs with pre-mediation sessions, those private sessions are strictly confidential:  Rachel will not share with the other party or their lawyer anything which is said in a private session.

In some circumstances, it is necessary to conduct a shuttle conference (the mediator shuttling between separate rooms).  If the shuttle conference format is necessary, it will be discussed in pre-mediation sessions and the approach agreed prior to the conference convening.

Where a shuttle conference is required, parties are usually asked to at least make opening statements to each other at the start of the conference in a joint session.

Shuttle conferences often work better if they incorporate a number of lawyers’ conferences (lawyers and mediator meet briefly to communicate their parties respective positions and suggestions for settlement ideas). This tends to avoid the ‘chinese whispers' effect. It also enables the parties' lawyers to ask questions and have them answered immediately rather than dispatching the chair back and forth.