Thursday, November 13, 2014

Online Mediation





In situations where the parties to a dispute cannot meet face-to-face at a mediation session, Online Mediation can be the solution.

For example, where the parties and the mediator live in distant cities or towns, the travel time and expenses for everyone to gather in the same place for a face-to-face mediation might be too significant in light of the issues or amounts of money in dispute.  Or one or more of the parties might be unable to travel away from their home town for, say, medical reasons or due to work or other commitments.  For people caught in this bind, Online Mediation often can help.

To participate in an Online Mediation, the parties only need the following:

- a computer or mobile device with video and sound capabilities (a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam, or a tablet/smartphone, usually do the trick);

- a high-speed Internet connection (for a tablet or smartphone, 3G is acceptable but makes for blocky video; 4G/LTE is better; and high-speed wifi is best); and

- a private room at their location.

The mediator schedules and conducts the online mediation through an online videoconference service provider (such as WebEx or Zoom.us, among others).  These videoconference platforms also allow the mediator to post documents, photos, and other materials for everyone to review and discuss during the mediation.  The technology is easy to use, even for someone who is not completely comfortable with computers or other electronic devices.

In many disputes, a face-to-face mediation with everyone in the same room is the better way to go.  But in situations where an in-person mediation is not an option, then Online Mediation can be a solution.

I have completed the Facilitation Skills for Online Mediation course offered through Royal Roads University, and I now offer Online Mediation as part of my mediation practice.


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