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What to expect on the day

    If you have other questions, email or call CJC and a CJC staff member will be happy to help you.

    Will everyone need to meet face to face?

    Mediation works best if the people involved meet face to face. In limited circumstances we may be able to provide telephone mediation or shuttle mediation (where people sit in different rooms and the mediator moves between them).

    How long will it take?

    A mediation session usually takes between two and four hours. It may take longer if there are a lot of people or complex issues involved. Please make sure you allow enough time when attending mediation. You can ask for a break at any time during the session.

    What happens during the mediation?

    The mediation session generally follows these steps.

    • Everyone introduces themselves and mediators explain the process and 'ground rules' for the mediation.
    • Each person has a chance to describe their concerns and be listened to without interruption.
    • Mediators summarise what each person has said and everyone agrees on a list of issues to discuss.
    • Mediators support the exploration of each of the issues on the list by encouraging and guiding the discussion.
    • Mediators see each person in a confidential private session, while the other person has time to think about their options.
    • Mediators bring everyone back together and help them to negotiate future arrangements.
    • If everyone agrees on some or all of the issues, the mediators can write an agreement and give a copy to each person as a record of what was decided. Agreements are not normally legally binding, but it may be possible to have them made legally binding if everyone agrees.
    • If an agreement is not reached, but everyone agrees further mediation may help, another session can be arranged.
    • The mediators will provide you with Feedback Forms and a self-addressed envelope. You can complete the form at the end of the mediation, put it in the sealed envelope and hand it to a mediator or you can post it to us later. You can also provide feedback to CJC by contacting us.

    Who's in control?

    You control the agenda, the mediators control the process. It's helpful to remember the following points.

    • You can stop the mediation at any time, as your participation is voluntary .
    • You can talk about whatever issues or concerns you have with the other party. It doesn't matter whether or not it was you who asked for mediation in the first place. You can raise any issues you want to. The agenda or the list of issues to be discussed is not set before the mediation. It is set during the session.
    • If the other person raises an issue you do not want to discuss, you can say no. However, the mediators may encourage you to discuss it so you can resolve all the problems between you. The mediator's task is to guide and encourage the flow of communication and help everyone to understand the dispute and each other's point of view fully.

    Will the mediation be confidential?

    Mediations are generally confidential. There will be no record kept of what happens on the day. The only thing CJC keeps is a copy of any written agreement that is reached. CJC cannot show this agreement to anyone else without permission from everyone involved. If you want the agreement to be seen by others, for example at a court, government department or other agency, everyone must agree and this must be put in writing in the agreement document.

    Can you make a recording of what happens?

    You cannot keep a record of what happens at mediation either by using a recording device or by keeping notes. Mediators will collect and destroy their notes and yours at the end of the session.

    Are there any exceptions to the rule of confidentiality?

    There are limited exceptions to confidentiality in mediation. CJC staff and mediators have a duty to report to the Department of Family and Community Services if they have reason to believe that a child is at risk of serious harm. CJC may also contact the police if this is necessary to prevent or minimise the danger of injury to a person or damage to property.

    Can you use a mobile phone?

    Mobile telephones must be switched off during mediation, not turned to silent or meeting mode. If you need to have your mobile turned on, please discuss this with the mediators.

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    Communication tips

    Listen carefully to what everyone is saying.         

    Try to speak clearly and calmly.                  

    Take turns when speaking, don't interrupt the other person or speak over them.

    Write down the points to which you need to respond so you don't forget them when it is your turn to speak.

    Make sure you understand exactly what is being said and ask questions if you don't understand something.

    Maintain appropriate eye contact with the person you are talking to.

    Stay positive.

    Remember the other person might be feeling emotional and that how you speak to them might affect how they feel and how willing they are to compromise with you.