Telephone Mediation: Making Conflict Resolution More Accessible

Scott McIver Articles

Since our well-received ‘Mediation & New Technology’ webinar earlier this month, we have spent a lot of time discussing the different forms in which mediation can take.

And, whether this be Skype mediation or resolution involving AI, the conclusion that most will come to is that it depends entirely on the case as to whether it should be considered.

One of the options we’ve explored is Telephone Mediation, which, as it stands, is the only other form of conflict resolution that UK Mediation offers.

Generally speaking, most neighbourhood, commercial, and financial disputes are easily resolved without the need for any outside intervention. When things break down, however, mediation might be considered as a quicker, cheaper, and less stressful resolution than going to court.

But, when not funded by large public or private sector organisations, the cost of a mediator’s fees may still be too much for two individuals taking part on their own behalf.

For this reason, many providers offer telephone mediation to lessen the costs further, mainly because the mediator won’t have to travel, get accommodation, or commit a full working day.

And, on top of this, it still carries many of the same benefits as standard mediation: providing an opportunity for better communication, understanding of each other’s concerns, and a format in which to come up with an amicable agreement.

What’s actually involved in the process?

• One, or both parties, gets in touch with the provider to discuss the ongoing dispute and to decide if mediation would be beneficial
• Both parties receive consent forms and confidentiality forms, acknowledging that mediation is voluntary and confidential, and confirming that they are
willingly taking part
• A two-hour telephone mediation session can be arranged within ten working days
• On the day, the mediator liaises with both parties through a series of phone calls to get their points across, build dialogue, and collaborate productively
• A mediation summary, including a scanned copy of any agreement, is sent to both parties within 48 hours of the mediation

But, of course, no matter how effective this type of mediation may be, there are some instances where it just would not be appropriate.

For example, cases where there are a lot more feelings, emotions, or underlying resentment, would generally require a more human touch. Ideally, these would be mediated face-to-face, where both participants can be in the same room and can see the “whites of each other’s eyes”, so to speak.

So, in what kinds of disputes would telephone mediation be suitable?

Neighbourhood disputes, where high hedges, boundaries, or access may be an issue
Commercial disputes for business relationships
• Where works or services are delayed or unfinished
• Where goods or services have not been provided as expected

Particularly with neighbour disputes, where it is widely advised that parties attempt mediation before the small-claims court, we have found telephone mediation to be very successful at rebuilding dialogue and restoring some form of a relationship.

On top of this, it is also more time- and cost-effective than regular mediation, meaning that conflict resolution can be made available to even more people locked in dispute.

Get in touch to find out more about telephone mediation and our other mediation services. You can give us a call on 0800 772 0778, email us at hello@ukmediation.net, or leave us a message here.