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To make the decision whether or not to have
a case or dispute proceed to mediation requires;
An
understanding of the process; what mediation actually entails and its different
forms.

An
appreciation of possible outcomes to the dispute outside a negotiated
agreement.
Sufficient
knowledge of the strength of the legal case or of the client’s  position.
An understanding of the true value of the
case to the client in terms of;
·       
Cost-
efficiency
·       
Time
– efficiency
·       
What
the client really wants to achieve if he can
·       
Whether
the remedy available from the court (even if achievable) can provide what is
actually needed.
·       
Adequate
knowledge.
Without this information, you will not be
able to assess whether the decision to permit the client to mediate is correct.
A Mediation Advocate is tasked with the
responsibility of tactical decisions in managing a claim or its defence and to
also answer two basic questions;
·       
Is
the case suitable for mediation?
·       
Is
the case ripe for mediation?
To ascertain precisely when to call for
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), there are a number of questions a
Mediation Advocate must consider and they are as follows;
·       
Does
he have enough information about the claim, its defence, any cross claim or
third party entanglement?
·       
Do
the parties know and understand the issues being raised by each other?
·       
Does
each party at least know its own version of the facts?
·       
Does
the Mediation Advocate have a proper understanding of the client’s needs?
·       
Is
the potential cost saving such that mediation should be attempted as early as
possible- even before proceedings have been issued?
As mediation processes become more
sophisticated, the Mediation Advocate must consider whether mediation is a better
vehicle for settlement of issues than early neutral assessment or expert
determination or the executive mini-trial and the awareness must be there that
a reference to ADR by the court does not mean mediation or bust.
Footnotes:*
Standing Conference Of Mediation Advocates (SCMA) *The Lagos Multi- Door
Courthouse Law (LMDC) 2007* The LMDC Practice Direction on Mediation Procedure*
The Multi Door Courthouse Code of Ethics for Mediators* Guidelines For
Enforcement Procedure *Guidelines for Court referrals to Alternative Dispute
Resolution *Principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution by Stephen J.Ware
*Effective Mediation Advocacy by Andrew Goodman.*
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