Is there any specific guidance or rules on conducting remote access mediations? If so, what are they?

Is there any specific guidance or rules on conducting remote access mediations? If so, what are they?

Produced in partnership with Harry Spurr, mediator of IPOS Mediation

While the coronavirus (COVID-19) ‘lockdown’ has suffocated activity in many areas of normal life, those charged with responsibility for the authoring and publication of ‘guidance’ have been busier than ever. Not to be outdone, the mediation industry has been hard at work producing its own advice on remote mediation, and there is no shortage of material available for anyone who wants it. Some focuses on the use of technology, including specific platforms, while others examine the roles of professionals and other participants in this brave new world.

Perhaps the most ‘authoritative’ is the document published by the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) in March (see Civil Mediation Council publishes guidance for online and remote mediation during coronavirus (COVID-19)—LNB News 14/04/2020 120). This covers the obvious bases in fairly general terms, but sensibly emphasises the importance of adapting provision for confidentiality and privacy to the remote environment. Inevitably, as with similar offerings from other organisations, the guidance skims lightly over the real challenges of remote mediation—grappling with the intricacies of the technology when things go wrong, for example, and handling emotional clients without many of the non-verbal communication tools usually available to mediators. These hurdles and certain other difficulties are almost impossible to coach for, and will need to be overcome by quick thinking, innovation and, over time, practice and experience.

In addition to the CMC guidance, IPOS Mediation offer their own information and advice on remote mediation, see: Remote mediation—mediating online or by telephone.

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