Mediationby Rita Bailey
In mediation, closure concerns summarising ideas and closing down on the issue as agreement is achieved. At this stage, individuals must always be clear about what they are agreeing to and what it involves, so an explanation regarding the options or what they agree to will always be necessary.
As mediator you will close
- When an issue reaches a conclusion
- At the end of the discussion of each issue
- At the end of the whole mediation session.
Even if an issue is partly resolved, this is also part of the agreement and you need to specify what needs to happen next; in other words, participants agree on a follow-up session.
Always thank individuals for participating in mediation. Recall the work they have done to get to the table and work together for a solution; compliment them on attending the meeting and their achievements, even if the outcome remains unresolved.
Written agreements in mediation are voluntary and not legally binding. They confirm what has been agreed and can be referred to; they also acknowledge the mediation process that has taken place. A written agreement can help to prevent future misunderstanding and act as a clear closure to the process.
Structure of written agreements
Here is a structure for written agreements:
- Detail who, what, where, when, timing and any deadlines
- Exclude any ambiguous wording around an action or agreements that can be interpreted in various ways
- Include the action agreed on, and any key areas acknowledged
- Use positive and clear wording in the written agreement
- Clarify any issues that need to be fed back to other team members
- Outline how the parties plan to continue communicating or any guidelines for communicating in future
- Outline expected behaviour and conduct from both parties.
A written copy should be signed by both individuals at the end of the session and photocopied for both to take a way. A copy can be kept by the mediator for future reference.