West Sussex Mediation Service


Download our Referral Guidelines

  • 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