What is a Mediation Brief?
Mediation is a proceeding intended to help parties resolve their differences without going to a full trial to litigate disputes, so there are a few features that distinguish it from a typical court setting. One factor is the mediation brief that the parties prepare to relate their respective positions in the matter. The document is submitted to the mediator to help him or her understand the background of the dispute, setting a framework for the parties to come together in compromise. While the exact details will differ depending on your circumstances, it’s common to include certain information in the brief to assist a Florida mediation professional with your case.
Statement of Facts
The mediator will hear more about the details of your case during the proceeding, but it’s important to lay out the facts involved with the dispute. Include any relevant information about how the dispute originated, along with key documents and communications between the parties. You should also mention any attempts to resolve the matter or settlement negotiations that have already taken place.
Reference to Statutory and Case Law
Depending on the specifics of your case, you should mention the relevant Florida statutes and case law that apply to the dispute. For instance, in a divorce case, you’ll mention the factors a court would use to determine spousal maintenance, property division, or child custody. Mediation proceedings are more relaxed than court hearings and are intended to help the parties reach compromise, but it’s helpful to the mediator to know what statutory and case would apply if the matter went to trial.
Requested Relief and Grounds
The mediation brief should also include a statement of what the parties want to gain out of the process, and why they feel they’re entitled to the relief stated. Typically, the requested relief will include a reference to a particular fact and the law that supports the party’s position.
When preparing the mediation brief, it’s important to understand that you’re not in a litigation setting: A “win” means the parties come to a reasonable compromise – not one party prevailing over the other. For this reason, you should always remember that collaboration is the key to effective meditation. It may involve confessing to certain weaknesses in your case if doing so is more likely to facilitate agreement. While you’d never admit vulnerability in a courtroom, it’s appropriate in a mediation proceeding.
Where a judge may rely upon evidence and testimony in coming to a decision in a courtroom setting, a mediation professional depends upon a mediation brief to assist with the process. Parties are more likely to reach a compromise when a mediator can see the full picture and assess the parties’ points of view. It’s also important for a mediation brief to demonstrate willingness to collaborate, so the mediator can frame the issues and help the parties come together on disputed issues. If you have questions about mediation or the types of disputes that mediation can help resolve, please contact the Tampa office of Feldman Mediation & Arbitration Services. We’re happy to answer your questions or discuss your options for mediation proceedings.