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How to Choose the Right Mediator?

Choosing the right mediator for your case is often the first step in the mediation process, and a crucial one. Parties who invest time and effort in choosing the most suitable mediator inevitably increase their chances in finding success at mediation.  Other than the obvious factors of cost (i.e. the mediator’s fees) and availability (i.e. dates), here are 5 simple things to look for when selecting a mediator:

 

1. Experience

Enquire about the number of cases the mediator has mediated, and their settlement rate. While not an objective benchmark of a mediator’s effectiveness, mediators who have handled more cases typically have experience dealing with a variety of situations, and are widely trusted for their skills.

 

2. Subject Matter Knowledge

If your case involves technical terminology and requires specialised knowledge, you might need a mediator with subject matter expertise or knowledge of a particular industry. In certain situations, mediators with subject matter knowledge might be more effective, and can make the mediation process more efficient. For example, if your case is legally complex, a lawyer-mediator may be more helpful when discussing legal issues. In most instances however, an extensive knowledge of the law is not necessary to mediate a case.

 

3. Neutrality

Neutrality is a key characteristic of mediation. It is imperative that the mediation process be facilitated by a neutral and impartial third-party, to encourage parties to feel safe and comfortable enough to speak openly about their issues and concerns, and to explore potential solutions with one another.

 

4. Language Competency

Communication is paramount at mediation. A mediator must be able to communicate effectively between parties, especially parties who do not speak the same first language, and are from different countries/cultures. Ensure that your mediator can speak comfortably and fluently in your language(s) of choice.

 

5. International Disputes Experience

In an increasingly globalised world, and with Singapore strengthening its status as a commercial dispute resolution hub, it is increasingly common for parties to come from different countries and legal traditions. If you have a cross-border dispute or a mediation where at least one advocate is from a different jurisdiction from your own, you should consider appointing a mediator with experience in international disputes and who is sensitive to the nuances of cross-cultural interactions.

 

The benefit of selecting the right mediator for your case is more than just securing a competent and experienced mediator – the fact that the choice is made by mutual agreement has a positive psychological effect in creating a collaborative atmosphere before the actual mediation even begins. The selection process might take some time and effort, but it will be well worth the trouble. Remember to make your choice wisely!

Peacemakers offers the services of internationally accredited mediators with extensive experience in resolving local and international conflicts. If you are involved in a dispute, let us know your requirements via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg, and we will recommend you the mediators that best meet your needs!

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