Deborah Lynn Zutter Deborah Lynn Zutter
Helping you get on with your life

Checklist 5 - Date and Duration

Whether you or an assistant is scheduling the mediation, the questions addressed in this Checklist will assist in selecting an effective date and length for the mediation meeting.

Variables and Issues to Consider

1. Duration
  • How many participants are involved?
  • Are there lawyers or interpreters who will be attending? Adjust the duration so that everyone can be heard, keeping in mind local traditions.
  • What is the normal or expected duration for the type of dispute that is being mediated? Eg. If commercial mediations in your jurisdiction are usually schedoled to start at 9 and end at 5, what reason is there to propose a variation in timing?
  • Given the type of dispute and the physical or emotional endurance of the participants, what is the maximum length that each meeting can be scheduled for?
2. Now or in the Future
  • Will delay in scheduling the meetings cause financial or emotional harm to a disputant?
  • Are you and the other disputants psychologically and emotionally ready to participate in a problem solving process?
  • Is the level of escalation so high that time and other interventions are called for to de-escalate the conflict to a level that allows for collaborative problem solving?
  • In the case of personal injury matters, has the injury stabilized to allow for a fair assessment of damages?
  • Does the data that is needed to make decisions exist, and if not, what needs to happen before it is available?
3. Travel
  • Would pre or post weekend meetings better accommodate travel and cost-related issues for those who are traveling in to the meeting?
  • What start time will work best for those who must travel?
  • Might an entire day or series of successive days be set aside for the preliminary conferences and the mediation meeting to minimize travel and its associated costs?
4. Other obligations
  • Are there other responsibilities, such as child care or elder care, that need to be worked with so that the participants do not become anxious or distracted at key points during the meeting?
5. Time of day
Given the context of the dispute, what time will
  • avoid sugar lows
  • take into account natural body rhythms, and
  • be conducive for work?
6. Deadlines
  • Is there a deadline ? do you need to reach a decision by a specified date?
  • What are the consequences if matters are left unresolved?
  • Is it realistic to expect that all the issues can be resolved in one meeting?
  • If not, how many do you think will be called for?
  • How much time between meetings makes sense?

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Divorce Mediation (Book)

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"Anyone involved in a mediation process will certainly benefit from reading this practical and understandable resource guide."

Elana Fleischmann, LLB, LLM

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