While the Coronavirus threat continues and until things are ‘back to normal’, all face-to-face meetings will still need to be managed in line with Government Guidelines – and basic common sense.
If face-to-face meeting is preferred to video conferencing, we shall be happy to arrange this but we will ask all participants to socially distance, wear masks and work at venues that offer good ventilation and enough space for all parties to work safely. While mediating online gives us better face-to-face interaction than mediating behind a mask and observing strict social distancing rules, face-to-face meetings can still be arranged if we are all sensible.
Just because the Government has relaxed mandatory restrictions doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t exercise personal judgement. Because face-to-face meetings still bring a higher risk therefore, we have designed a set of Rules that we will ask all parties to follow and sign up to in the event that face-to-face meetings are preferred.
Mediation will remain a high-risk situation for the foreseeable future. Spending a day indoors in close contact with people from different households/offices carries a much greater risk of infection passing than would be the case with video conferencing. So, face-to-face mediation will continue to require the exercise of individual judgement, caution and responsibility. For this reason, we will ask each of the participants to agree to and sign off the following Rules before personal mediations are conducted.
Rules for Face-to-Face Meetings:
- All parties should please consider whether their case can be mediated online. Most are suitable for online mediation and there are many advantages.
- Where a mediation is to be conducted face-to-face however, each participant (including legal representatives and the Mediator too) must confirm in advance, with evidence, that they have been fully vaccinated and on the day of the mediation, must confirm that they have suffered no Coronavirus symptoms during the previous 72 hours.
- There will be no hand shaking and no personal contact at any time and social distancing rules must be observed. Face masks must be worn by all participants.
- Any participant who has not been vaccinated will regrettably not be able to attend. Similarly, any participant who tests positive or who suffers any symptoms of Coronavirus in the 72 hours leading up to the mediation, should inform the mediator immediately. It may mean that the mediation will be postponed on safety grounds.
- If a participant’s presence is essential to the mediation but he/she cannot satisfy the safety requirements, the Mediator will request that the participant should take part in the mediation by video conference or telephone. If this is not possible then the Mediator will either request a postponement or request that the entire mediation is conducted online.
- We will formally advise all parties in advance of the requirements for the venue as to mask wearing, social distancing arrangements, ventilation and other Coronavirus requirements.
- Depending on the number of parties proposing to attend, the chosen venue and any specific circumstances of the mediation, participants may be asked to take a forehead temperature reading test before the mediation can commence and any participant failing such test may not be permitted to take part, other than by video conferencing or by telephone. In the event that the mediation cannot sensibly and reasonably proceed in such circumstances, the Mediator may cancel, postpone or re-schedule the mediation.
- Impact Mediation reserves the right to decline to mediate face-to-face where these Rules cannot be maintained. Impact Mediation or its Mediators will have absolute discretion to vary any of these Rules in order to maintain the safety of participants or where it is necessary to reflect any future changes in Government Guidelines.
Please note that Impact Mediation cannot accept any liability arising from infections that may occur during face-to-face mediations. All participants acknowledge that they attend face-to-face mediations at their own risk, particularly where there remains the alternative opportunity to mediate online via Zoom video conference.
If you have any questions about Face-to-Face meetings or using Zoom for your mediation, please get in touch with us by using the contact form below and we will be happy to reassure you on any concerns you may have.