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UK (England and Wales)

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Home > Country profiles > UK (England and Wales) > Articles > Article detail

What’s Happening In The Other Room(s)?

Tuesday, 6th May 2020

"Mediation can be an intense experience for parties and their advisers. Often there is a lot on the line. In the substance there may be money, control, reputation, pride. In the process, there are challenges such as influencing other parties, getting the best deal possible, making well-informed judgment calls about risk, developing effective offers, and much more beyond. 

To retain clear thinking in that context is a serious challenge. Very understandably, there is a tendency to get caught up in the bubble of one’s own thinking and strategizing. An early casualty of this can be a loss of perspective. Everything gets viewed from the single perspective of how it looks in that room, by those people, under those conditions, at that time. 

I see this most obviously in two areas where parties make choices in mediations. 

The first of these is joint meetings. One side may indicate that they do not wish to have any joint meetings, perhaps early on, or even at all. No doubt they will have their reasons, and they may be perfectly sound ones. However, rarely in the rationale do I find a serious analysis of the impact that such a move may or may not have on the other side. 

The second area is offers. Particularly first, or early, offers. The choice of what offer to make often appears to me to be a product mainly of that party’s assessment of its own case/risks, in the light of where it wishes to try to get to in the mediation. I have no difficulty with that. Indeed, I would expect that to form a serious part of the analysis. But I would ALSO expect the analysis to include an assessment of (or at least some thinking about) the impact the offer will have in the other room(s). This is not because, in keeping with many mediators, I have spent many hours coaxing the receiving party off the ceiling (or back into their room) in the wake of a challenging first offer. That is all part of a mediator’s job. Rather it is because, in order to be well-judged, offers need to have the right effect on both the making and the receiving parties. The desired effect on the receiving party does not necessarily need to be outright joy(!), but it should at least motivate them to engage as seriously as possible with the settlement process."

Select the link to read this aritcle in full! 

Source: Bill Marsh (Editor) (Bill Marsh Mediator)
Language: English
Contact: Bill Marsh

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