what if we can't decide on a mediator?

first, consider why you are going to mediation. if an agreement or law requires it, there may be a mediator appointment mechanism in place to help. if you are mediating voluntarily + in good faith, you really should be able to agree on a mediator. if not, there are some options available to you.

moving away from identifying the person who will be your mediator + focusing instead on agreeing about the criteria of your mediator can sometimes be helpful. as mediation is an unregulated field, it may be important to ensure that your mediator is qualified. the most senior designation available to mediators in canada is the chartered mediator (c.med) designation of the adr institute of canada. that designation is often used as a benchmark to ensure that a mediator is qualified + insured.

qualification alone is not enough, though. it can be important to also make sure that your mediator offers services that fit within your budget + has availability that suits your schedules. many mediators have availability calendars + are open to holding dates for you. while some mediators are less forthcoming about their rates, it is often the case that the total cost of mediation depends on the duration of your mediation. i offer mediation on a flat rate basis to give my clients cost certainty. some offer services on a hourly rate basis.

in the absence of a mediator selection mechanism, you + others involved in your dispute could agree on one to avoid frustrating or otherwise delaying the process. a common mediator selection mechanism is for each party to offer their preferred mediator. a random draw could decide who among them is selected or the proposed mediators could be asked to select another mediator for you. the latter approach is helpful when one or more parties is concerned about a proposed mediator. it can come with some additional cost for engaging the proposed mediators to help find a mediator for you, but does offer a way forward.

at the end of the day, if parties involved in a conflict are unable to agree on who will mediate their dispute, it would seem unlikely that they will resolve their issues in a mediation. as with scheduling hurdles, it has been my experience that those who truly want to participate in mediation will find a way to do so.

 

 

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