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There are many different ways of conducting a mediation. However, the model to be adopted should reflect the needs of the industry and or the parties it is serving.

The mediation commences with a request for mediation, to a mediator or an ADR service provider, by one of the parties. Once the other party consents to the mediation the parties may exchange relevant information and provide the mediator with information. Arrangements for the mediation may be made by the parties, the mediator or the ADR service provider. The mediation may be held in one of the party's premises, at one of the party's legal representatives offices, an independent venue such as a hotel or at the ADR service provider's mediation suite.

Most mediations will commence with a joint session with all the parties and the mediator present where the mediation process is explained to the parties. The parties are given an opportunity in the joint session to outline their position explaining how they feel, what they need and what they hope to achieve out of the process. This sets the parameters for subsequent negotiations. In exceptional circumstances joint session may not be adopted if there is so much animosity present that the joint session might result in an irreconcilable confrontation between the parties. To avoid confrontation, it is possible to brief the parties separately or to show them a video explaining the process.

After the opening joint session the mediator will often conduct a series of sequential private meetings (sometimes known as caucuses) with each of the parties and their respective representatives. Private sessions are used to explore each party's situation and possible solutions to the problem as the mediator attempts to help the parties reach an agreement, playing "devil's advocate" and asking searching questions about the strengths and weaknesses of the case.. The mediator will use as many private sessions as circumstances require to broker a settlement. Meetings are entirely confidential. No information will be given to the other party unless expressly agreed.

The mediation will end with a joint session where the agreement is finalised, committed to paper and signed by the parties.

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