14 July 2013

Mediation as Way to Conflict Resolution

What is mediation?
Quite simply it is a way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. If both parties in a dispute agree to mediation then a trained and accredited mediator, who is always an impartial third party, guides the parties to a settlement on which they both agree. The mediator does not impose a decision or attempt to judge the merits of the case.

What are the benefits?
Global the results are similar: around 60-80% of cases agree to settle at Mediation. Thus the saving to parties in cost, time and the ability to continue relationships between parties due to the process being confidential are the main benefits.

The mediation process is about looking forward to finding a settlement that both parties create together and avoid the consequences of litigation. Mediation resolves disputes quickly, usually within a day, and can be arranged in days or weeks. Mediation is significantly less expensive than litigation - because months or years of litigation are avoided, as are the consequent fees of lawyers and experts. Parties may of course (and generally do) have legal or other advisors present during the mediation if they wish.

Mediation is voluntary; any party may withdraw at any time. The Mediation can take place at any time - it is not limited to ordinary working days or hours. If it suits the parties to negotiate over a weekend, then that is when it happens.

How to find qualified mediators in Cayman?
The Cayman Island Arbitrator & Mediators Association is the local profession body which registers who is qualified to practice in Cayman Islands. Most mediators have a legal background but there are several in Cayman that are other professions.

How much does Mediation Cost?
Fees vary between firms so ask for a quote beforehand.  SEL Consulting has two rates one for small claims i.e. under CI$ 20,000  -  CI$ 450.00 per party with CI$ 150/hr for overtime. This provides for 2 hour preparation per party and 2 hours mediation and for claims over CI$ 20,000 up to CI$ 100,000 -  CI$ 600.00 per party with CI$150/hr for overtime. This provides for 2 hour preparation per party and 4 hours mediation. For mediations are over CI$100,000 – as this will require more preparation time and although will around the same sort of time. The cost of the venue and refreshments are excluded from the fee. All Mediation fees are paid up front to maintain neutrality.

Sam Small - SEL Consulting