The bundle should be concise, containing information the mediator needs to understand in advance.
This is another article on preparing for mediation and again thanks are owed to Consensus Mediation for allowing me to reproduce part of its own guidance note on this subject along with my sage edits.
The first thing to say is that the mediation bundle is NOT a trial bundle. The second is that the bundle should be concise, containing only the information the mediator needs to understand in advance or that is likely to be referred to on the day.
The mediation bundle should be book style, starting with the earliest items, so that it may be read front to back, NOT like a correspondence file, which is reversed. Try to put email exchanges in order starting with the earliest and don’t include the back sheets of pleadings and duplicates of documents.
A chronology of events can be very helpful to your appointed mediator but swamping him with copies of judgements won’t be. Indeed, case law should really only be included if it is relevant, appropriate and helpful.
An index may not be essential but it could be helpful to allow the Mediator to navigate his or her way around the document.
Paginate the bundle and refer to page numbers in your Position Statement as appropriate before copying the bundle!
Some mediators prefer to receive the bundle electronically but I’m not keen on this because I like to handle a document and insert post-it notes on key documents and extracts that I think are important. So check what your mediator’s preference is.
If your mediator wants to receive the document electronically, check email maximum sending and receiving sizes to avoid delivery failure.
Now for a plea – if at all possible the bundle should be limited to an absolute maximum of one lever arch file.
There is absolutely no point in rowing with the other parties about what should be in the bundle. If they want a document in, put it in. If there is more than trivial disagreement each party may send their own documents to the mediator but this will increase preparation time and inevitably produce duplicated documents and increase costs, as an excessive bundle of documents will cause the mediator’s fee to rise.
Delivery of the Bundle to the Mediator
Remember, not everyone works in the same way, or even works out of a staffed office. Help yourself and the mediator by doing your best to comply with his or her requests and instructions. I always request that the bundle is delivered at least a week in advance of the mediation. This gives the mediator a chance to prepare when he or she has the time to do so.
Please do not assume that the bundle’s arrival “before the mediation” will be sufficient. Mediators are likely to have other work and cannot necessarily fully prepare if your bundle is late and the mediation will be more efficient if you allow the mediator to prepare fully.
Check where the bundle is to be delivered and make sure whoever is responsible for sending the bundle knows this!
Please don’t request a signature upon delivery unless it is absolutely essential. The mediator may miss the delivery, particularly if it is at a time later than agreed and the mediator will be inconvenienced if he or she has to collect it from the delivery depot or await redelivery. It may be too late for the bundle to be read by the mediator if delivery is delayed.
Beware of the tendency for lever arch files to be damaged in transit. There is little more annoying than having to replace the folder because the mechanism has bent, so use appropriate protective packaging.
OK, so now you are good to go. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start preparing your Position Statement followed by the all-important Opening Statement. If you have any doubt how important these are, see my separate articles on my blog.
Peter Vinden is a practising Arbitrator, Adjudicator, Mediator and Expert. He is Managing Director of The Vinden Partnership and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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