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How do I prepare for mediation?

Man mediates between two people.
it’s important to go into mediation knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Photo: iStock

The best way to prepare for mediation is to first understand when to use it and how it works. It’s also important to consult with a lawyer to understand what consequences will follow if the mediation fails and no agreement is reached.

Mediation is not a court proceeding. It’s not a trial. It’s an informal process by which parties can resolve their dispute. A neutral third party — the mediator — looks at the evidence on both sides and urges parties to resolve issues and come up with a mutually agreeable settlement. This is why it’s important to go into mediation knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your case and what you’re looking for in a settlement.

In order to prepare for mediation, both sides must make their evidence available to each other and to the mediator. This is the same evidence that will be required if mediation fails and the case proceeds to a trial. The evidence may include medical and financial records, invoices, assessments, and other documentary evidence. It can also include notes from any discoveries or witness statements. The more thorough your evidence is and the more you are familiar with your documents, the easier it will be to argue your position at mediation and counter the other side’s attacks.

Note that in some jurisdictions if you get an offer in mediation and refuse it, you may be penalized at trial if the court awards you something or you may get nothing. Consult with a lawyer to learn about how much a trial will cost you in fees and what other consequences may follow if a mediation doesn’t result in an agreed upon settlement.

Read more:

Dispute Resolution Reference Guide - Mediation

Guide to Mediation in B.C.