ROLE OF A LAWYER IN MEDIATION
Mediation is a structured procedure in which the parties discuss their disputes with the objective of resolving their conflicts with the assistance of a trained impartial third person(s) known as the mediator. The parties try to reach a settlement through effective communication and negotiation. In mediation, the central role is played by the disputants, because it is the conflicting parties who have to enter into a settlement. The mediator encourages the disputants to resolve their disputes, but in this whole process, a major role is played by legal practitioners also. Their role in the procedure can be understood in three phases. They are as follows:
- Pre- Mediation – Preparation is always important for good results. This rule is also applicable to meditation. The procedure of mediation has to be carried out by the disputants but in most situations, the disputants are not well aware of mediation and the process that follows. Legal practitioners play an important role in making the parties aware of the whole procedure. The client and the advocate can together formulate the key points of the mediation. The client and the advocate should discuss the issues related to the dispute, the range of possible outcomes, and the issues in which the client may have an edge as compared to the other party. The advocates also ensure that all the relevant documents are available and prepared prior to mediation. The clients are mostly clueless if advocates are not present to guide them through the whole process.
- During Mediation- The advocate plays the role of a guide. He guides and advises his client as to how to present the issues during the procedure. In some cases, the advocates may also represent his clients and negotiate on their behalf. During mediation, various proposals are made by the parties. The advocate guides the client in understanding the legal aspects of such proposals along with the risks and gains associated with it. They help formulate proposals beneficial for his client. The advocates can come up with creative solutions in order to solve the disputes. They also save their client from entering into a pressured settlement.
- Post- Mediation- There are two outcomes to the mediation procedure. If the process is successful, then the advocate prepares the agreement, that the clients have settled upon. If the parties have settled on an agreement, then the advocate ensures that the decree or order passes by the mediator is executed. If the mediation is not successful, then the next best remedy for the client to approach the court. An advocate is required for the purpose of litigation. Either way, the advocate plays a significant role after the process of mediation also.
It can be concluded that legal practitioners are significantly important in guiding the parties and assisting their clients to enter into a settlement that is beneficial for their clients. The mediation process shall not be effective and efficient if legal practitioners are not included in it.