The Principles of Mediation

The following principles were developed over a period of time by organisations involved in mediation, and have been agreed to by both Mediation UK and the UK College of Family Mediators.

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