Agreement to Mediate
- Mediation is voluntary. You come because you want to try to reach resolution of issues in dispute but you have the right to end the mediation if you wish. The Mediator also retains the right to end the mediation if he/she judges that it would be appropriate or helpful to do so.
- As Mediators we are impartial and seek to help both parties equally. We do not make judgments or express opinions about who may be right or wrong, and we do not take sides. Our role is to help you to reach your own decisions about your futures.
- Mediators provide legal and financial information in a neutral way to help you understand the options available to you. We do not provide advice on your “best interests” and the choices and decisions are yours. It is helpful for you to have advice from your own Solicitor throughout the mediation process, to help you make informed decisions.
- All information including correspondence from either of you will be shared openly with you both. The only exception to this is an address or telephone number which either of you wishes to keep confidential.
- You should understand that although the Mediator may see you separately in any mediation session, nothing that is said to the Mediator is confidential as between either of the Mediator and yourselves. You should be aware that the Mediator may report back to the other anything that is said, as though you had been in the same room as each other.
- Where relevant we ask you both to provide complete and accurate disclosure of all your financial circumstances, with supporting documents. We do not verify the completeness and accuracy of the information provided, but you will be asked to sign and date a statement confirming you have made full disclosure. If it emerges that full disclosure has not been made, any agreement based on incomplete information can be set aside and the issues re-opened.
- Your financial information is provided on an open basis, which means that it is available to your legal advisers and can be referred to in Court, either in support of an application made with your joint consent or in contested proceedings. This avoids any need for the information to be provided twice.
- The actual discussions about possible terms of settlement are understood by you to be legally privileged. This means that your discussions about the issues between you and proposals for settlement cannot be referred to in Court unless you both agree. But, if you have been referred to mediation by the Court, you may be asked to agree to waive this legal privilege, so that the Court can be informed of any proposals for settlement.
- You each agree not to call the Mediator to give evidence in Court or require him/her to produce his/her files or notes in any Court proceedings.
- The Mediator will draw up a written summary of your proposals for settlement (legally privileged) and, where appropriate, “open” summaries of your finances. These summaries help each of you to obtain independent legal advice before entering into a legally binding agreement.
We shall do our best to help you both. We ask you to show integrity and commitment to the mediation process and to co-operate as fully as possible in looking for workable solutions. We ask you to bear the following in mind throughout the process:
- Be fair and just throughout the mediation process.
- Leave fault out of the negotiations.
- Commit yourselves to mutual co-operation in resolving the conflicts submitted to mediation.
- Consider your individual needs, the needs of each other, the needs of the children and the needs of the family as a whole.
- Strive for the least possible emotional and financial upheaval for all concerned.
Mediators have a professional duty of confidentiality with exceptions:-
- Where any person (particularly a child) is at risk of serious harm we have a duty to contact the appropriate authorities.
- Where we are required to make disclosure to the appropriate government authority under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and/or relevant money laundering regulations. We may also be under a linked obligation to make such disclosure without informing you and may have to discontinue the mediation without further notice. Exceptionally, we may disclose personal data in connection with the alleged or established commission of an unlawful act.
- We are “processors” of personal data for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998. You consent to our processing your personal data for the purposes of this Agreement to Mediate. You understand that this includes our retaining and storing your personal data for as long as is necessary in connection with this agreement. We may retain data for research and statistical purposes but on the understanding that if used it has been stripped of all features from which you could be personally identified.
- Our practice’s quality assurance standards require us to monitor our mediation files. Periodically, our Practice Supervisors may have sight of files, but access is strictly controlled and on a similar confidential basis.
- If either of you were to pursue a complaint against the Mediator, your file may be disclosed to another person in Prime Resolution in accordance with our complaints procedure, or to the appropriate body should the complaint be taken further. 1. By signing this document, you agree to information contained in your file being released to an external Professional Practice Consultant, or to the Family Mediation Council for the purpose of external investigation relating to a complaint.
- At the end of each session, unless you state otherwise, the Mediator will send copies of any Record of Mediation, Summary of Mediation. Summary of Proposals or Open Summary of Financial Information to each of your Solicitors to enable you to take advice on the proposals you have made.
- We endeavour to keep our fee structure simple and may have discussed a fee rate with you. Our fees are £100 per hour each Party, normally fixed at £150 per session. Time is charged for the actual sessions and the time that is taken in drawing up the summaries. We do reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee if a joint meeting is cancelled at short notice (within 24 hours) or if you do not attend a joint meeting that has been arranged.
Concerns and Complaints
- If you have a concern about our mediation practice, you should initially contact your mediator who will follow our internal complaints procedure.
- If you remain dissatisfied with the way your complaint has been handled you have the right to pursue your concerns via the Family Mediation Council (FMC) Complaints Procedure.
- We work in accordance with the FMC code of practice at all times and will be concerned to ensure that you both are able to be involved in the mediation process without feeling at risk of threat or harm. We ask that you inform us if you have concerns about your ability to negotiate freely. I have read and understood the above: -