The Principles of Mediation

The following principles were developed over a period of time by organisations involved in mediation, and have been agreed  by both  UK College of Family Mediators (member of Family Mediation Council UK) and Mediators Institute Ireland and adopted by FMNI.

Key elements of mediation:

  • Impartial skilled negotiator
  • Voluntary (on the part of the clients)
  • Confidential
  • Informal and flexible
  • Decisions based on consensus
  • Focused on the future to achieve a ‘gain-gain’ result and resolve conflict.

Seven stages of the mediation process

  • Initial contact with the first party
  • Initial contact with the second party
  • Preparing to work on the dispute
  • Setting the scene – hearing the issues
  • Exploring the issues
  • Building agreements
  • Closure and follow-up.

Role of the mediator – underlying principles

  • Mediators help people to identify their own needs, clarify issues, explore situations, and negotiate their own agreement
  • Mediators do not advise those in dispute, Mediators are not Counsellors, but help people to communicate with each other
  • Mediators are impartial, and must have no stake in the outcome of the process.

The mediator will:

Those in dispute:

  • remain non-judgemental
  • listen actively
  • act impartially
  • encourage changes in perspective
  • seek out underlying needs and interests

Elements of successful mediation

Those in dispute:

  • willingly take part
  • are prepared to be open and honest about the situation and their part in it
  • want to work cooperatively with the other party to find a solution
  • want to continue to have a civilised relationship
  • feel that they are in a safe atmosphere

When mediation may not work

  • If people feel coerced to take part
  • If one person is reluctantly attending
  • If another service such as counselling support is deemed more appropriate
  • If they have no need/wish to build a different future relationship
  • If people feel unsafe or threatened
  • If the mediator has a vested interest in the outcome of the mediation