The object of mediation is to assist the parties to arrive at a satisfactory solution to their conflict. Of course some parties may have chosen to instruct a solicitor before the mediation, others may even be approaching a court hearing, while a number may have had a hearing adjourned; mediation at any stage is possible as long as both parties are positive about attempting to reach a settlement.
Both parties should accept from the outset that the purpose of dispute resolution is not to achieve a win or triumph over the other. Both parties may need to reformulate their must win stance with the aim of achieving a suitable or appropriate settlement.
Mediation resolves disputes fast, it has an extremely high success rate and is less expensive than the legal fees associated with litigation. Parties that mediate avoid the uncertainty of decisions made by the court.

1. What normally happens at a mediation?

Each mediation will obviously differ depending on the issues concerning the parties. Usually the parties will attend on their own, however, you may wish to attend with a friend, family member or lawyer. The friend, family member, or lawyer may comment where appropriate. However, if the other party feels uncomfortable, inhibited, or intimidated by their attendance, s/he may be asked to remain in another room during any joint discussions.
Before the mediation the mediator will make contact with both parties, get an outline of the dispute and discuss whether mediation is suitable for them. The mediator will not disclose details of the discussion that s/he has had with either party to the other unless s/he has specific permission to do so.
The mediation usually commences with the mediator seeing each party individually. At this stage the parties are able to speak freely about the dispute and consider any proposals for potential settlement. The next meeting will be with both parties meeting with the mediator together and setting out what their aims/objectives are for the mediation.