West Sussex Mediation Service
- Mediation is a voluntary process in which an impartial third party helps disputing parties work out an agreement. Our service is confidential, impartial and non-judgemental.
- Mediators work in pairs and help people to listen to each other, communicate concerns and work towards a solution acceptable to both parties.
- Ideally, mediators try to encourage all parties to attend a face-to-face meeting.
- The parties (not the mediators) decide the terms of an agreement. This agreement (which may be verbal or written) is not legally binding, but forms a contract to which all parties have consented.
Types of disputes suitable for referral to mediation (this list is not exhaustive):
- Noise nuisance
- Antisocial behaviour
- Hedges / trees / fences
- Boundary disputes
- Property / planning disputes
- Verbal abuse
- Harassment / Intimidation
- Racial harassment / Hate crime
- Children’s behaviour
- Garden / rubbish issues
- Communication breakdown
- Cultural differences
Circumstances most favourable to mediation are:
- Parties cannot find a solution themselves but do want to settle a dispute or make things better.
- The parties have stopped (or never even started) communicating but are prepared to do so with the help of an independent third party – the mediator.
- A better way forward is important to all sides.
- There is no great difference in the balance of power between the parties involved.
- Other options have been considered but are less desirable than mediation.
- The issues are fairly specific e.g. noise, parking, boundaries, pets, children, etc.
- Early referral – not as a last option.
- Where a referring agency does not force participation.
- Where a referring agency do not tell parties ‘you don’t have to be in the same room as them’
Circumstances least favourable to mediation are:
- Both or one of the parties are not willing to participate.
- Positions of both parties are entrenched and have been so for some time.
- There is a great imbalance of power between the parties.
- Where parties do not have the capacity to changes.
- A judgement is required by a higher authority.
Mediation is most likely to be successful if problems are referred at an early stage