Even after over 13 years as a mediator, there are still new experiences.
I recently conducted a mediation where two very able and experienced property litigation partners in two prestigious firms attended alone.
The issue was quite technical, and they felt that their clients, having given authority to settle, need not be there in person, while being available by phone.
Also the two solicitors knew each other already, got on well, and both were quite well known to me.
The mediation was conducted absolutely correctly and conventionally, but we dispensed with my explaining what mediation was, and because no clients were there, the solicitors were able to speak very frankly with each other and with me. This undoubtedly saved time.
A settlement was reached by 3 pm.
Although it is often said that the lay client “owns” the mediation, and it gives him / her a chance to have their say, all of which is true, perhaps in appropriate cases we may consider doing it this way.