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With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of letting up, in-person mediations are rapidly giving way to remote ones. Some entrepreneurs have quickly adapted to the new reality & are feeling quite comfortable resolving disputes through remote mediation.

Others are still facing difficulties adjusting themselves to the new way of settling disputes online. And since it isn’t yet clear how long the current situation will go on for, we have come up with ten tips for all those considering resolving disputes via online mediation:

  1. Preparing for virtual mediation takes more time & effort than preparing for traditional mediation. Mediators should come up with convincing position statements & provide persuasive exhibits to ensure that they can go ahead with mediation. They should also hold consultations with all parties involved to make sure that all their positions are clear.
  2. Prior to commencing the mediation process, steps need to be taken to ensure that any deadlines, restrictions & stipulations (including verbal ones) are taken into account. Also, notifications about any upcoming events (including time zone adjustments) should be sent out to all participants (mediators included).
  3. Conducting online mediation requires its participants to establish a set of clear-cut rules.There should be absolute clarity as to who will have the right to enable/disable sound for the participants, how long the sessions will go on for,  whether there will be any breaks, what platforms will be used & whether the participants will be able to leave & reneter group discussions.
  4. All those involved in the mediation process should be wearing proper attire, and that includes both clothes & shoes.It is also imperative that the mediation environment be professional-looking & have no distractions.
  5. Holding virtual mediation sessions would be impossible without using proper equipment. It is also important to have a technically aware person who can help the participants resolve any technical issues they’re facing. The participants shouldn’t be dealing with any emerging technical difficulties themselves. If they do arise, they should be handled by an experienced professional.
     
  6. The participants should reach an agreement on how they will be communicating online so that they do not accidentally send a wrong message to each other or the mediator.
  7. Prior to conducting e-mediation, mediators should provide their clients with detailed information on the specifics of the process & do a test run involving all the stages of the upcoming proceedings.
     
  8. Before commencing e-mediation proceedings, mediators should prepare a mediation agreement containing all the steps involved in its remote execution. That will enable them to finalize everything once the participants reach settlement remotely.
  9. To ensure a smooth & uninterrupted e-mediation process, the mediator should be paid in advance.
  10. While interacting with the mediator, the participants should avoid using their smartphones & other distracting gadgets to remain totally focused on the process.  

If you need more information on e-mediation, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. IQ Decision UK can provide you with legal advice on virtual mediation in the UK or any other jurisdiction of your choice.