Appointing Grant Jones as a mediator: FAQs.
Q. Can I approach you directly to appoint you as a mediator?
A. Generally, 'yes you can'. However, this is not necessarily the desired route. Generally I prefer a joint approach from both prospective mediants. You should also remember that you (& indeed both potential mediants) may not have the right to appoint. The right to appoint may vest solely in the contractually agreed alternative dispute resolution (ADR) institute; it is probable however, that such institutes would pay high regard to a mediant (more especially joint mediants) wishes. You should always check what your contract says in this regard.
Q. What do you mean by 'a joint approach' & 'why is a joint approach preferable'?
A. A joint approach can be way of an email introducing the parties & the situation, sent by one party; this email can usually be sent by a potential mediant or their advisers. However this email should be 'cc'd to the other side'. If cc'd it constitutes a joint approach, even if led by one party.
A joint approach is preferable because of transparency. Both mediants need to feel that the mediator is independent of the mediants.
A joint approach is preferable because of transparency. An arbitrator is a quasi-judicial officer & the rules of natural justice apply: the arbitrator should, save in exceptional circumstances, avoid communications with just one arbitrator. Admittedly at the point of initial discussions, I have not been appointed, so I am not a quasi-judicial officer; nevertheless I would like to adhere to the principal throughout the whole process.
A joint approach also gets things done. If one side in good faith rings around potential mediators, spending some time discussing the situation & concludes 'yes, I found the perfect mediator to recommend to the other side', unfortunately human nature being human nature, the other side will show some scepticism. The other side, if not involved in the selection process, does not necessarily assume good faith. I have spent a lot of time explaining the mediation process to one side (usually a trainee lawyer asked to ring around) & reaching an accord as to the way forward, only to have the other side refuse to consider my appointment. Why? Well, because I now appear to be too close to the other side. I have found that immediate transparency saves time & is a great deal less hassle.
Q. Do you charge a fixed fee?
A. Yes I do. I have a fixed daily rate, but also an hourly rate. The daily rate covers the mediation itself and the hourly rate covers the work before the mediation itself, such as organising the mediation, any pre-reading material as well as any post-mediation settlement agreement and the like. Many lawyers overload a mediation with far too much pre-mediation paper for the mediator and the other mediant to read. Most of the material is entirely unnecessary. The lawyers regard mediation as akin to litigation. The rationale for charging an hourly rate is to discourage lawyers from overloading the system with pre-mediation reading material. As to the hourly rate for any post-mediation activities, such as the drafting of any settlement agreement, again an hourly rate discourages 'silly pointscoring'.
Q. Why do you use the term 'mediant'?
A. A mediant is like a litigant. A litigant is involved in litigation and a mediant in mediation. I prefer to use the term 'mediant' than the more usual term 'party', because it emphasises the mediation process. By emphasising 'it's mediation, not litigation', I wish to encourage 'the parties' to avoid the adversarial attitude found in the litigation process and thereby reduce costs.
Q. You have a varied portfolio career, how can we ascertain whether a conflict of interest exists?
A. I suggest you look to my employments & positions as a preliminary measure & indeed consider the whole of this website. The purpose of the website is to tell potential mediants about me. But given the varied portfolio career, it may take a bit of time to investigate potential conflicts. Of course I can always answer direct questions pertaining to me, such as 'do you know so & so', etc?
Q. How do we go about appointing you?
A. First, consider (ideally all parties jointly considering) whether I am your ideal choice. This can be done by reviewing this website. Second, contact me via email to start the process rolling, again ideally jointly. In largish cases an initial meeting can be organised. Third, sign the the appropriate appointment documentation.
Q. Should I employ lawyers to represent me?
A. Of course the general answer is 'yes'. However, I particularly (in many of the sorts of mediation with which I am involved) encourage party or accountant representation. If the dispute is about (say) a profit calculation then I believe an accountant (if they feel able) can present the case. The issue is, 'does the non-lawyer potential advocate feel confidant'? It's a personal choice really. Mediation is very much about party control and I really advocate legal involvement at the end of the mediation, during the settlement agreement drafting.
Q. We have a finance dispute & like the look of appointing you as the mediator. Should we employ our own accountant expert witness?
A. You wish to appoint me because I am a dual qualified lawyer, accountant, arbitrator. So I would hope that I can reduce the necessity for any accountant expert witness costs.
I hope these FAQs have been helpful & I look forward to working with you.