The parties who were former cohabitants had been at deadlock for some time resolving their outstanding dispute over some shares and the division of three properties, one owned jointly and the others in Mr S`s sole name but in respect of which they both claimed a financial interest.

They both had solicitors and there had been exchanges of correspondence but both parties recognised that the pursuit of formal court proceedings to resolve their dispute would be disproportionately costly and time consuming. They agreed that one or more of the properties should be sold but could not agree agent and sale price or the appropriate timing for marketing the properties. All communication had broken down between them.

We were approached by the parties’ solicitors to undertake individual Mediation Information and Assessment (MIAM) meetings with the parties at our offices before immediately proceeding with a joint first mediation session. A mutually convenient time and date was determined directly with the parties. The mediation was undertaken as a co-mediation with Elisabeth Howe, a family law solicitor mediator as lead and another family law solicitor as co –mediator. It was considered beneficial to have mediators of both sexes to avoid any imbalance of the sexes in mediation.

The first mediation session was successful. There was no need to proceed with any further mediation sessions. The benefit of mediation was that it brought the parties together in the same room at the same time in a neutral setting but with the impartial but information providing role of the mediators. This enabled the parties to restart communication between them such that they were able to reach agreement there and then about what would happen in relation to each property in issue between them as to sale/transfer and preparation for marketing. The parties saw the sense in avoiding further protracted and costly communications and negotiations between solicitors.