Everyone hopes to reach an agreement at the end of a mediation session. In fact, on average 80% of CJC clients reach an agreement. Even if an agreement is not reached, you will have been able to clarify the issues in dispute and talk about your concerns. Here are a number of possible outcomes to mediation with CJC:
If you come to an agreement, the mediators will help you write it out. Once the agreement is written down and everyone is satisfied with the wording, each person involved will be asked to sign it. Everyone will get a copy of the agreement.
In general, a written agreement made at a CJC mediation is not legally binding. It is a 'good faith' agreement. People tend to keep 'good faith' agreements because:
- In most cases, people keep their word.
- They have invested time and effort in the mediation.
- They are keen to avoid further expense from the dispute.
- It makes sense not to test a fragile relationship.
CJC agreements are usually confidential and cannot be shown to anyone else. If you want to show the agreement to others, for example a court, government department or other agency, this must be a term of the written agreement signed at by everyone at the mediation.
If you come to an agreement on some but not all of the issues, the mediators can prepare a written document that lists what you have and have not agreed on. For example, you and your neighbour may agree that you need a new fence and that each of you will pay half the cost, but not on what type of fence to install. This document may include a 'Statement of Resolved Issues' section will list the issues that everyone agrees about and/or have not agreed about.
How do I enforce an agreement that was made as a result of a CJC mediation session?
CJC cannot enforce any agreements. If an agreement is not kept, it is up to you to consider getting legal advice and, if appropriate, taking legal action. However, if an agreement is not kept you are free to attend a further mediation session at CJC to explore what went wrong and to try to reach a more lasting agreement.
For information on making a legally binding agreement or enforcing an agreement, please see the fact sheet 'Are CJC agreements enforceable?' in
CJC's brochures and fact sheets.
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When the people involved in mediation can't agree
Even where mediation does not result in an agreement, it can still be very useful. You have had the opportunity to communicate with each other about your concerns, including clarifying the issues, explaining each other's point of view and outlining what each of you would like to happen. It is common for people reach an agreement shortly after the session as a result of their new understanding.
You may wish to have a document to remind you of what was discussed. The mediators can write a 'Statement of Unresolved Issues' which will list these.
Stopping mediation before the end
Sometimes a mediation session will be stopped before it reaches the final stage. Any person participating in the mediation or a mediator may end it. At any time during the mediation you can tell the mediator if you need to take a break. In some circumstances, people wish to stop the mediation before the end. Mediation is a voluntary process, and you can end the mediation session at any time if you feel this is necessary.
CJC has a procedure for these situations and we ask that you speak to the mediators before you leave.
Mediators can also end the session at any time if they decide that:
- Despite the mediators' best efforts, one or more of the participants refuses to follow the mediation process and the 'ground rules' agreed to at the beginning of the session (for example, someone is repeatedly interrupting, swearing, name-calling or bullying).
- One or more of the participants is not negotiating in good faith (they may have no intention of agreeing or have ulterior motives for attending).
- One person is much stronger in the negotiations than the other person or people and this means it is not fair to continue (for example, someone is being bullied).
- Something said reveals a serious threat to a person or property, or that a child is at serious risk of harm.
- For some other reason it is not appropriate for mediation to continue - you may still request a further mediation session in the future.
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