Graeme Mills B.A. LLB
(also the Editor of this website)
Ph: 03 62296752
FEE - $25 an hour each**
The first half hour is FREE if you decide not to proceed
Available on weekends and after hours
(so you do not have to take time off work, and I have a large safe garden for children to play in)
Why use Mediation?
You are the best person to find a resolution to your dispute, which is why it is also called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
It is inexpensive, fast and effective.
Going to Court should be the second option, not the first.
After all, what you are doing is asking a third person (a judge) who does not know you from a bar of soap to make a decision for you. Usually after paying two other strangers, lawyers, to argue your case for you.
Is that sensible?
Of course not!
Who knows your circumstances better than yourself?
Court should be the second option not the first. Why not see if you can resolve the dispute yourselves first?
However, often emotion and pride get in the way, and clouds our judgment.
Until mediation, the court was often the only place to go.
Now you can use mediation to try to work out the dispute
Win-Win is not about both parties winning. That is not possible.
When you go to court you will get a binding judgment that will either be more than you hoped for (seldom), what you hoped for (seldom), or what your feared (often).
Then you have to take out all the lawyer’s fees and court costs.
Not to mentions the time and emotional energy you have spent. Time and emotional energy you could have put into something far more productive.
The numbers just don’t add up.
Why not just nip the problem in the bud and get on with your life?
If it all works well it could only cost you two hours of mediation plus a lawyers fee if a legal document has to be drawn up.
I (the mediator) help both of you cut down the trees so you can see the problem clearly.
Most important, I do not take sides.
I ensure that you concentrate on cutting down the trees rather than trying to cut each other down. That is, I ensure that you try to find a solution and do not descend to insults.
I also ensure that one party does not overpower the other. If I think that one party is not able to hold their own during the mediation I stop the mediation and suggest they deal through their repsective lawyers.
For mediation to succeed it has to be equally fair to both parties.
If you think I am favouring one side you can ask for a private session and tell me. If you think it is continuing, you can stop the session.
First, after the preliiminaries where I tell you what will happen, each of the parties has time to tell their side of the story. That is a time when the other person listens, even when they want to blow a gasket.
Then it their turn and you listen ...... patiently.
All the points raised by each party are written down.
I then lead a discussion into how relevant each of the points is.
If a point is relevant to both parties, it stays. If it is relevant to one party, it stays. If both agree it is not relevant, it goes. One tree down!
At this stage I often find the parties tend to find a solution to at least one point, so it can be wiped off the board.
With one tree gone, a glimpse of the view can be seen, we are on positive ground.
We then go to each of the points still on the whiteboard and write down all the possible solutions to that point. Each party can make suggestions. All suggestions are written down, even if they seem balmy and impossible. Often those suggestions trigger an unexpected solution.
By this time you have both been concentrating on the problem for some time. You are truly hearing, maybe for the first time, the other person’s side and their concerns.
You have probably already agreed on some points when we went though them the first time. Those first agreements form a strong foundation to reaching a solution.
Now, your brain is working on finding solutions, not just digging in.
You can’t descend into insults and accusations, I won’t let you.
You may even begin to like the other person and understand their side. If you both do that, then an agreement is not far away.
Most people are reasonable I find.
Often, at this stage, the parties start to come together and try to find solutions rather than problems.
Not because it is the least expensive option, but because it is what most of us do naturally. What most of us do when there is no fog of blame and accusations.
The problems on the whiteboard are like trees to be felled …… one by one.
I have often found that in this atmosphere of goodwill, the other party will come up with a solution where they are prepared to give something if it helps find a solution.
They now want to find a solution, not dwell on a problem or cling to a position.
It is negotiation without the personal insults; it is negotiation in an atmosphere of wanting to find a solution.
That is my only role as a mediator. To guide the negotiation, guide it away from the rocks of personal insults - keep it firmly on course.
In most cases the role of mediator is best handled by someone with a legal background.
Often legal issues come up in mediation, sometimes unexpected legal issues.
A mediator with a legal background will see the legal issue. The mediator will then say what the issue is and tell each of the parties to see their lawyers to resolve it.
It is not the role of the mediator to become involved in a legal issue.
Neither is it the role of the mediator to be a psychologist or counsellor. Sometimes, it is best for a party to seek help from a psychologist, or counsellor before they continue with mediation.
When people clearly know what mediation is, and how it benefits them to find a solution, they enter into mediation with a determination to find a solution and they are prepared to give a little to find that solution.
When both parties do this, the solution is found very quickly and inexpensively. They have both won. That is the true win-win result.
The agreement is then drafted by me, both parties sign it and take it to both their lawyers for a formal document to be drawn up and signed.
You can now enjoy an expensive celebratory dinner on what you have saved.
To recap: When both parties do this, the solution is found very quickly and inexpensively. They have both won. That is the true win-win result.
Which is also why I work on an hourly rate.
The sooner you find a solution, the sooner you stop paying me.
The sooner you can get on with your lives.
**My fee is $50 an hour (or part of an hour) for two parties (ie: $25 an hour each). If there are more than two parties it is $20 an hour for each party. The minimum fee is $50 if you go over the half hour.
(There was a mix up for one of the advertisments, the fee stated $40. If you bring the advertisment with you I will only charge $40)
If you leave in less than half an hour ….. time in which you can get to know me and see how I work, there will be no charge.
It is generally best to allow two hours for a mediation session, I put aside three hours in case it takes a little longer. If required we will schedule a second mediation. Sometimes it is better if the parties go away and think before continuing. There is never any pressure to settle. The parties determine the pace of the mediation, not me.
You can leave at any time.
I find most people do not leave. If they have taken the trouble to come to a mediation session, then they tend to stay.
Phone to make an appointment.
Kingston 03 62296752
It won’t cost you if you decide it is not for you, and it may save you a lot of money.
I am available after hours and on weekends.
This is me at Lijiang China
I also tutor the IELTS programme
teach basic Chinese language and culture from a western perpsective
(what you will need if you visit China)
My Mediation Office
(the authentic Chinese tea is free)