Mediation - why and how?
Mediation is the fastest and smoothest way to solve a disagreement. Over 75% of the cases mediated in the Rent Disputes Tribunal (HTU) is reconciled. If no settlement, the matter is settled by HTU without it costing anything extra. Mediation is an offer to the parties. Parties may withdraw from the mediation until a settlement have been concluded.
Does mediation work?
Parties often believe that mediation will not work, because they might have tried to agree without success. With help from one of HTUs professional conflict mediators, most agree anyway. Most mediations causes the issue to get the most quick, inexpensive and flexible solution. The parties will not have to spend more time, effort and money on the dispute.
All HTUs mediators are lawyers with training in mediation. The mediator should be neutral and impartial, and assist the parties in their attempts to find a settlement agreement. The mediator may for example put questions to the parties, to help them to talk about what the matter concerns. Legal advice and answers to who is right, the mediator is not entitled to give. If the parties can not agree so that the case will be decided by the HTU, the mediator will have nothing to do with the decisionmaking and can not influence this.
The aim of the mediation
The aim of the mediation is not to argue the case, but to try to talk together and agree on a solution. It is therefore important that the parties appear in person.
It is difficult to agree on a settlement if one or both parties meets by proxy. If a representative nevertheless meets instead of the party, the proxy must have a written authorization where it is also stated that the proxy may settle the dispute on the persons behalf. Attorneys need only to submit authorization if the case leader finds reason to require it, see the Disputes Act § 3-4.
If the party will bring a helper, he must notify HTU at least one week before the meeting. This is in the interests of the other party, so that he also could have the opportunity to bring a person.
The mediation meeting
The mediation meeting will begin with a "joint meeting" where the mediator, the parties and their possible helpers are gathered. The mediator provides some general information. The parties have an opportunity to ask questions.
Usually the mediator also has "separate meetings" alone with the parties. The parties can then talk to the mediator about what offer they will give to the other party, without the others need to hear it. If the party has decided an offer, the mediator make the offer to the other party in a separate meeting to hear if he will accept it. If the party does not accept, it may be that he gives a counter offer that the mediator may submit in a new separate meeting with other party.
Mediation is voluntary and the parties may withdraw from the mediation until a settlement is made. The parties choose what they want to agree. When the parties agree, the mediator helps the parties to write down the parties' settlement. The agreement will take effect as a binding (legally enforceable) decision and may provide a basis for enforcing what the agreement involves (enforceable). The agreement can not generally be appealed further to the district court ("appeal") within a period of one month as decisions can be.