How effective is your mediator, how can you tell if they are, are going to be, what should they be doing for you at the mediation and pre mediation? These and many other questions certainly go through parties minds before they look to appoint a mediator and no doubt whilst the mediator is mediating for them.
They certainly would go through my mind if I was looking to appoint a mediator. The answer to all these questions, albeit can be somewhat answered generically, however it will depend upon the type of case that requires mediation, the complexities and the individual circumstances of the case.
Firstly any mediator should upon being allocated your case make contact with all the parties, to introduce themselves and address the parties queries, concerns and questions, highlighting what format the mediation will take, i.e. face to face mediation, telephone and or Skype, as well as explaining the particular process of the format for the type of mediation that is going to ensue.
It also part of the mediators role to advise the parties on what the most suitable format would be, as well as to arrange the same.
At the actual mediation whatever format it takes, the mediator should introduce themselves, conduct a pre mediation meeting with all parties again to address any concerns that they may have, deal with any apprehension and reassure them to remain open to settlement.
For face to face mediations the mediation should typically commence with a joint opening meeting, unless the parties specifically object, and or the mediator feels it would not be conducive to do so.
Following the opening joint meeting the mediator should use a series of private and joint meetings to guide the parties towards a settlement, whereby once they have agreed any agreement should be committed to writing.
The role of the mediator can be difficult, as with everything in life there has to be a balance, the mediator should, whilst remaining professional at all times, be friendly, helpful, emphatic, firm, and assertive when they need to be, discreetly demonstrating their authority, but above all be an effective communicator to enable the parties every chance of resolving their said dispute.