​ Hybrid Mediation

​ Hybrid Mediation

Mediation has helped many thousands of couples resolve their financial and children issues via negotiation, rather than having to navigate their dispute through court. This has the benefit of not only saving substantial sums of money that they might otherwise have spent on litigation, but also enabling a non-confrontational and more constructive resolution to the issues that they face. 

One of the criticisms of the traditional model of family mediation, however, is that it is not equipped to deal with more complex or high conflict cases. 

In order to deal with this criticism, there has been a gradual roll out over the years of Hybrid Mediation, with many mediators now trained in this form of mediation by Resolution (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association).

Hybrid Mediation is a hybrid of the traditional family law and commercial mediation models.

Hybrid Mediation differs from traditional mediation as follows:-

1. Hybrid Mediation enables the mediator to be told things which he holds in confidence, which can aid the negotiation process, as in it enables the parties to consider options without these being disclosed to their opposite number.

2. Other professional such as solicitors or financial advisors can, and regularly do, attend Hybrid Mediation to support the participants which can be particularly useful in complex or conflictual matters, or where the parties do not feel that they are on an equal footing.

3. Hybrid Mediation can be particularly effective when there are certain safeguarding issues and where one person does not feel comfortable being in the same room or same online meeting as the other.

The advantages of Hybrid Mediation are that the process may make negotiation easier, each person can spend individual time with the mediator discussing their settlement without all of that information being shared, and it can help the mediator move the discussion forward and assist the parties in reaching a agreement.

By having the option of involving solicitors it can ensure that parties are fully supported and receive legal advice during the mediation meeting itself, rather than the advice being provided between mediation sessions as is the case in traditional mediation.

Having solicitors attend the mediation can also help parties confidence in discussing options, and it enables the other professionals to use their skills and knowledge to support the process and therefore it is more likely to achieve a fair and workable settlement.

As with traditional mediation, both parties need to attend a MIAM (Mediation and Information and Assessment Meeting) for an assessment as to the suitability of the mediation process. At the MIAM all process options are considered to ensure that the right option is chosen. It is usual under the Hybrid Model for the lawyers to have a meeting with the mediator to ensure that the lawyers roles within the process are clear and agreed.

All parties and the professionals involved will need to have signed an Agreement to Mediate.

The meetings themselves can last for longer than under the traditional process, and very often can be resolve matters in “one hit”.

If you have any queries regarding how we can assist you within the Hybrid Mediation process then please do not hesitate to contact us.