Mediation is one of the forms of an Alternative Dispute Resolution process, and it is used for resolving conflicts between parties. The Mediation process is conducted by a third-party, a Mediator. The mediator will discuss the mediation methods with you that can be used for the resolution of your dispute, e.g. Face-to-face Mediation, Online Mediation (ODR), Shuttle Mediation, Telephone Mediation, Co-Mediation or Hybrid Mediation.
During shuttle mediation, each party will be located in a separate room, so the mediator will move back and forth between the rooms while assisting you in the dispute resolution. It means that you will not see the other party at all. Shuttle mediation is mostly used in family mediations particularly when there are safety concerns involved, but it can also be used for when mediating other types of disputes, e.g. business, commercial or personal.
Benefits of Shuttle Mediation
Shuttle mediation method is recommended when there has been a history of violence or one party expressed aggressive behaviour toward the other. In addition, separating the parties can prevent conflict from further escalation.
It is also useful when the other party’s presence affects your emotional state. For example, you may perceive them as more powerful, or you may feel uncomfortable being around them. So when you don’t see them, you can be more comfortable and objective when formulating your responses or offering options for resolving a conflict.
Disadvantages of Shuttle Mediation
One of the disadvantages of shuttle mediation comparing to for example face-to-face mediation, is that it will take longer, and therefore your total cost may be increased. As the mediator will be shuttling between rooms, he/she will be acting as a messenger and therefore will be repeating the same information to each party.
Another limitation is you may lose a feeling of being in control over the mediation process as you won’t see or hear the other party. And if a successful outcome is not reached, you might be questioning the mediator’s ability and therefore blame the mediator for the failed mediation. In comparison, face-to-face mediation is transparent so you will see exactly what’s going on.
Shuttle mediation is harder for a mediator to conduct especially when it comes to option generation. It is more effective for all parties to be in the same room and at the same time when discussing various options, and then working together on a possible solution.
You will also be missing out on an opportunity of telling the other party how the issue has affected you emotionally. Mediation provides a safe environment for disputants to vent their emotions that will not be offered by a judge. If your matter goes to court, the judge will look at the facts and disregard the emotions.
And finally, the other party may offer you an apology and you may see from their body language that the apology is sincere. Whereas when you don’t see them, you may feel that they are bluffing.
Shuttle mediation is an effective mediation method, but you need to consider both advantages and disadvantages when deciding to utilise this method or not. Comparing to other mediation methods, shuttle mediation has more disadvantages and therefore should be used as a last resort.
Why should I choose Shuttle Mediation?
Shuttle Mediation is recommended when you have safety concerns. It is also recommended if there is a power imbalance.
How does Shuttle Mediation Work?
During shuttle mediation, each party will be positioned in a different room and the mediator will shuttle between rooms while assisting you in resolving the dispute.
What other mediation methods can I use?
In addition to Shuttle Mediation, there other mediation methods that you can use such as Face-To-Face, Online (ODR), Telephone, Co-Mediation or Hybrid mediation.