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  • Writer's pictureCourt Help Limited

How Can Hybrid Mediation Help You?

Updated: Mar 26, 2023


What is Hybrid Mediation?

Hybrid mediation is one of the dispute resolution option suited specifically to highly complex cases. It helps couples reach solutions with the help of a mediator without going through litigation, but still employing solicitors and other experts.

Hybrid Mediation helps to facilitate the inclusion of independent experts (and solicitors). It can also include “shuttle mediation” where both parties are in separate rooms and may have their sessions at different times, with the mediator acting as a skilled middle man.

Hybrid mediation refers to the combination of both civil as well as family mediation models. It is incredibly helpful in furthering a case where the parties individually may not have been able to do so.

What are the differences with Hybrid Mediation?

What are the differences with Hybrid Mediation?

The following are some of the differences between Hybrid Mediation and the usual form of family mediation, or child inclusive mediation ;

  1. The mediator can involve other independent experts or professionals to help with the typically complex situation. This could be anyone from independent financial advisors to psychiatrists etc etc.

  2. Both parties may even involve their lawyers and solicitors in the process at the mediators discretion

  3. The use of shuttle mediation where the mediator can spend time each party on their own with an opportunity to explore the issue and help them settle the issue without the parties having to be face-to-face or even on the same zoom screen/

What are the advantages of Hybrid Mediation?

The following are the advantages of hybrid mediation;

  1. Shuttle Mediation is a massive aid to parties who do not feel comfortable being in the same room or same video chat screen with each other, and would prefer to have someone communicate for them while still getting their own views across.

  2. Another benefit of Shuttle Mediation is that each party can explore all of their given options with the mediator without feeling that they have over committed to the other party.

  3. Hybrid Mediation is a good alternative to court proceedings, while being more formal than the traditional model of mediation thanks to the involvement of solicitor and other trained professionals .

  4. The involvement of trained, specialised professionals means that the outcome may be fairer and more mutually beneficial, and provides fresh perspectives from each of the participants.

What are Hybrid Mediators?

What are Hybrid Mediators?

Hybrid mediators are trained specialist who have the ability to resolve disputes by using both civil and family mediation procedures and techniques. Hybrid Mediators use their unique training to come up with innovative but flexible ideas while appeasing both parties with a mutually beneficial end settlement.

How much are solicitors involved in Hybrid Mediation Processes?

This truly depends on the specifics of each individual case. Your solicitors can be involved as much as you want them to be involved.

The solicitor can play the role of a guide in the whole mediation process, by advising the client how they can present their issues during the process.

In some cases, they may also represent the client and make negotiations on behalf of the client.

What types of cases are suitable for hybrid mediation?

What are Hybrid Mediators?

Hybrid Mediation is generally used in quite complex cases where neither of the parties wish to escalate to litigation, but find the traditional model of mediation does not work for them.

Hybrid mediation can deal with a wide range of issues existing between a divorcing or separating couple which may be related to children, finance or both.

Issues in finance include:

  • Maintenance issues

  • Distribution of Assets following separation or divorce

  • Long term financial support/maintenance for children

Issues regarding children include:

  • Where a child will live

  • how much time the child will spend with each parent

  • Handover of the child between parents

How long does it take?

Each session of mediation generally ranges from 1 to 2 hours. The exact number of mediation sessions depends on the couple, but a rough estimate may be form 3 to 5 session.

Alternatively, some couples choose to try to solve their issues in one chunk of time, eg over one weekend or even over a day.

Confidentiality in Hybrid Mediation

In the traditional model of family mediation it is important that parties are as transparent with each other as possible for it to actually work. This allows the mediation process to stay neutral and happen as efficiently as possible without getting any other participants apart from the mediator and the two parties involved.

However, in shuttle and hybrid mediation, the mediator will only share the information that each party have allowed them to disclose to the other party. In simple words, the mediator can have confidential and separate meetings with both of the parties and accordingly reach a settlement.

Vulnerable Clients in Hybrid Mediation

The hybrid mediation model can also empower the vulnerable clients. In a shuttle mediation there is no requirement of joint sessions at all, as both parties will have completely separate sessions with the mediator. Additionally, the involvement of solicitors and if needed, independent experts, in hybrid mediation means that the clients are strongly supported throughout the entire process. The mediator is also trained in more ways to support a client.

Being involved with a team can help someone get their point across where they previously would have found it hard to.

In case of family mediation, often it is quite unsettling for the clients on the day of the mediation session, as they are with the opposite party and have no other support systems. This leads to an overall lack of support system for both parties.

Vulnerable Clients may also find litigation difficult for themselves, as the mental burden is coupled with the financial strains of going to court, as well as the huge disruption to day-to-day life. Hybrid Mediation is a much calmer, controlled environment which, provided both parties are agreeable, could be preferable to going to court.

Memorandum of Understanding and Financial Consent Orders in Hybrid Mediation

What is a Memorandum of Understanding?

After a proposal is drawn up through mediation, they are converted into a “Memorandum of Understanding “. These will be examined by a solicitor or lawyer, who can draft a consent order detailing everything agreed in mediation.

If the solicitor finds that the agreements are clearly skewed to benefit only one of the parties, they may bring it up with the party they represent and the mediator, This could result in further mediation till a satisfactory agreement is reached. However, generally a satisfactory agreement will be reached in the first round of mediation, and a second round won't be necessary

However, in Hybrid Mediation the concept of the “Memorandum of Understanding” functions slightly differently. This is because lawyers are present throughout the entire process, and are able to advise throughout the process. However, they will still draft a consent order at the end of the process.

How much does Hybrid Mediation cost?

Hybrid mediation can range from 150 to 300 pounds an hour. In hybrid mediation, generally the cost of the mediator should be met equally by each party. However, it is up to the parties to decide how much they want to contribute towards it.

Each party will be liable to the cost of their own solicitor or experts.

Note: This article is not meant as legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.


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