How online mediation works
NWMS would recommend Zoom for online mediation. It is very easy to use and also has ability to provide virtual breakout rooms. This allows the parties to have private confidential meetings with their lawyers or advisors.
The virtual breakout room allows the client and their lawyer to be in the same virtual room, even when they are in different physical buildings or even countries. They will be able to talk to each other without the mediator or any other person overhearing. The mediator can join these breakout rooms and can even bring everyone together in one virtual room, if felt appropriate.
If the people in the breakout room wish to contact the mediator, they can use the “Ask for help” facility. The parties can also call the mediator on their telephone number.
If the parties want to see each other, without their lawyers, a separate breakout room can be created for that purpose. As with face to face mediation, the mediator can either be present at that meeting or not, depending on the wish of the parties. The same applies for lawyers – if they wish to meet separately this can be catered for.
Any device can be used; computer, tablet, iPhone etc. We would ask that you ensure you have a good internet connection when the meeting is scheduled.
Setting up the meeting
Before the mediation you will need to download the Zoom software. You can download the software by following this link. https://zoom.us/download It is free and there is no need to purchase the upgrade.
The mediator will send you an email with a link in it for you to attend the meeting. That link will automatically take you into the meeting.
Before the meeting
Shortly after receiving instructions the mediator will arrange a three-way meeting with the solicitor for each party. This will allow them to experience the technology and jointly discuss how the mediation process will work – just like our mediators do in a face to face mediation.
Before the mediation the mediator will also do a test video call to the participants to ensure that the technology is working so that there won’t be any hiccups on the day. This will also allow the mediator to introduce themselves prior to the mediation.
As with a face to face mediation, you should think carefully about who will be at the mediation. Ensure that the key decision makers are invited and try to keep the attendees as small as possible as it will be easier to manage.
The actual mediation
The mediator will send all parties an email containing a link, which will take them directly to the meeting. Depending upon whether a joint session has been agreed, the mediator will have allocated the parties to their breakout rooms.
Please note we will check with the parties’ solicitor before the mediation as to whether or not they wish to have a joint session. This will be continuously reviewed throughout the mediation in case the parties feel it would be beneficial to hold a joint meeting.
Please ensure that if you are attending the mediation from a place whether others are present (i.e. at home) that they are aware of the confidentiality clause in the mediation agreement, and the need to keep everything heard confidential.
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Zoom have some short video demonstrating how the system works: