Every mediation process is unique, but as a general rule, these are the key stages in a mediation led by Colin Russ:

Stage 1

A mediator is jointly agreed and appointed by both parties; either directly or through legal advisers. Colin will submit his CV profile document along with other mediators for this selection process.

Stage 2

The date for the mediation is set and a venue agreed. The venue will generally have three separate rooms to enable private discussions for each party and one room for face-to-face negotiations if appropriate. Colin can organise this venue if required including catering for the day’s mediation.

Stage 3

In advance of the mediation, Colin will receive the material documentation and a case summary for each of the parties to enable him to be fully briefed on the dispute. It is likely that he will also have some discussions with the parties’ advisers prior to the mediation day.

Stage 4

Whilst the mediation process is largely informal all parties involved in the mediation (including Colin) will sign a mediation agreement, which records the basic ground rules and procedure that are to apply during the process.

Stage 5

On the day, after initial private meetings with each of the parties, Colin will usually convene a joint meeting of the parties and their legal advisers to enable views to be exchanged and issues identified.

Stage 6

In a series of private (and confidential) meetings over the course of the day, Colin meets separately with each of the parties to explore key issues and to fully understand the their commercial needs. As the day progresses, Colin’s role is to help the parties to engage in constructive negotiations.

Stage 7

Whilst working with the parties throughout the day, Colin uses his experience and professional communication skills to bring each side closer together to find an effective resolution to the dispute that satisfies all those involved. The commercial settlement is documented and the parties sign a written and binding agreement, generally on the mediation day or very soon thereafter.

Stage 8

The dispute has now been settled and both parties can continue with their day-to-day business, including maintaining a working relationship with each other if applicable.

Important considerations

i) It is not the role of the mediator to try to influence or persuade one party to conform to the requirements of the other nor are they there to dictate the terms of the settlement. The role of the mediator is to explore both sides of the dispute and identify a common interest from which to find a workable solution.

ii) Where disputes have become personal or emotions are running high, it is the mediator’s role to find a route through these emotions, creating the right conditions and atmosphere that will enable constructive negotiation to take place.

iii) When a resolution is found that both parties agree on, the mediator will work swiftly with both sides’ legal advisers to finalise a legally binding agreement, which brings the dispute and any court proceedings to an end.

iv) In the unlikely event that a settlement is not agreed on the day, the mediator will outline the key points still outstanding with a view to further negotiation at a later date.

v) The mediation process is designed to take place over just one day (albeit sometimes a long one!) with the objective of a settlement being reached by the end of that day. However, in highly complex or multi-party disputes further time might be needed and in which case the mediation could run into the next day or at the next convenient date for all parties.