Dis­putes me­di­a­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Ar­gu­ing with your neigh­bours over who should pay to re­place a dam­aged fence?

Ag­gra­vated by a flat­mate who won’t pay his/her share of the bills, or who holds par­ties most nights?

Up­set be­cause your child was banned from the cricket club after you swore at a ref­eree? Squab­bling with your sib­lings about who will care for your el­derly fa­ther?

If you’re fac­ing a sit­u­a­tion like this, your lo­cal Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau may be able to help. Cit­i­zens Ad­vice has linked up with a team of ac­cred­ited me­di­a­tors keen to pro­vide pro bono ser­vices to help their com­mu­nity.

Their ser­vice is called ‘‘Wel­comed’’ and is free for dis­putes not cov­ered by ex­ist­ing me­di­a­tion ser­vices.

Me­di­a­tion is a great way of re­solv­ing dis­putes when talk­ing di­rectly hasn’t worked. It helps peo­ple reach agree­ment and is ideal for pre­vent­ing is­sues from spi­ralling out of con­trol and into the courts.

Me­di­a­tion is vol­un­tary, so both par­ties have to agree to be there.

If your case is con­sid­ered suit­able for ‘‘Wel­comed’’ me­di­a­tion, the ser­vice will con­tact the other party to let them know you have sug­gested me­di­a­tion to try to sort things out. If they agree, a time and date is set.

Most me­di­a­tion takes place over a three-hour ses­sion.

Two me­di­a­tors will help you and the other party air the is­sues and look for a way for­ward. The me­di­a­tors are neu­tral, which means they do not take sides.

Dur­ing the ses­sion, the me­di­a­tors ask ques­tions and make sure you and the other party un­der­stand each other.

After the par­ties have dis­cussed ev­ery­thing, the me­di­a­tors help them brain­storm ideas to re­solve the dis­pute.

The me­di­a­tors will not give the par­ties ideas, but will en­cour­age them to think about what they have heard and what they might put for­ward to end the dis­pute.

If the par­ties agree how to re­solve the dis­pute, the me­di­a­tors will help the par­ties write up the agree­ment.

The ser­vice is con­fi­den­tial, so those in­volved can­not talk about what hap­pened at me­di­a­tion un­less they have per­mis­sion from all par­ties.

Par­ties can bring a support per­son (who must also sign a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment).

If you’re in this sit­u­a­tion and talk­ing hasn’t worked, con­tact your lo­cal Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau for a re­fer­ral to ‘‘ Wel­comed’’. Ph 0800 367222 or go to cab.org.nz.

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