Much has been said and written about the demise of the joint meeting in mediation. In my experience, such a view is premature and, I fear, is potentially wasteful of the power that mediation brings for creative problem-solving. I am also aware of how much the clients and others appreciate a creative approach to the structure of meetings in mediation.
I illustrate my point with this (somewhat abbreviated) example of a series of meetings in a recent two-party construction-related mediation with independent experts involved. This is not an unusual example in my practice and I am sure others find this too. And this is not a prescriptive template. Much of what is described here is improvised on the day.
The diagram below gives a flavour. The middle column denotes when a meeting involved participants from both parties.
(* denotes occasions when the mediator would pop into private rooms to discuss progress)
This is merely an example. The danger is that we think we know or do it better than others. I hope this may further stimulate discussion on a very important aspect of our practice.
A revised version of this blog was published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Resolver, the quarterly magazine of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).