Mediation is a flexible process that is used in a number of different situations. It can be direct or indirect i.e. those involved meet face to face or when that is not appropriate shuttle mediation may be beneficial.
Initially, parties are visited individually by mediators. The mediators will ask each of them to explain how they see the current situation, and how they would like it to be in the future. They will also ask what suggestions the parties have for sorting out the disagreement. Information shared during the mediation is private and confidential (with the exception of disclosure of serious abuse) unless otherwise agreed.
If both parties agree to come to a joint meeting, the following steps take place. Mediators will explain the structure of the meeting and ask everyone to agree to some basic rules, such as listening without interrupting and not using offensive remarks. Each person will then have a chance to talk about the problem as it affects him or her. The mediators will try to make sure that everyone understands what each person has said and allow them to respond. They will then help both parties identify the issues that need to be sorted out. Very often this leads to solutions that no one had thought of before, helping parties to reach an agreement. The agreement is sometimes written down and signed by both parties and the mediators. However, it is not legally binding but simply acts as a reminder to both parties as to what was agreed between them.