How is mediation used in neighbour disputes?
When neighbours are experiencing conflict with each other, a mediator can help them to communicate with each other about their problems. The mediator can help them to work out their own way of resolving the issues that have caused the conflict. Mediation provides a safe, structured and focused way of talking about problems and to explore reality based and achievable solutions. Mediation allowes all parties to have their say and the process can be completed relatively quickly.


What does mediation involve?
The mediation process has several stages. Firstly individual meetings are held with all parties where each person's concerns are explored and assessed for suitability for the process and detailed information is given about face to face (direct) mediation and shuttle (indirect) mediation. If parties agree to engage in either type of mediation, face to face or shuttle meetings are arranged for the issues to be discussed. Face to face meetings are always held in neutral venues. Once agreements have been established, a monitoring period is agreed within which further intervention may be offered if necessary.


Who decides on the outcome?
The parties themselves, not the mediator, discuss and agree between them what is entered in their agreement.


Do people have to meet with their neighbours?
The best way to resolve issues between neighbours is when they meet together in a neutral venue under the direction of an unbiased third party (the mediator). However, in some circumstances individuals feel that they cannot meet directly with the other party and it is possible for indirect (shuttle) mediation to be undertaken. The mediator goes from one party to the other in turn passing information to both parties and helping them to formulate an agreement that they are both satisfied with and are willing to participate in.


Do people have to use mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process and no-one can be made to engage in it or should be pressured into taking part. Mediation is successful because no-one tells anyone what they should do, all solutions come from the parties in conflict and voluntarily agree to enter into an agreement about how things change between them.


What if one neighbour is very aggressive?
The mediator meets with all parties individually before the mediation process begins. If the mediator feels that there is any possibility of aggressive behaviour then a face to face meeting will not be offered. All parties are made aware of the requirement for courteous and polite behaviour at any meeting that takes place. If any unexpected aggressive behaviour does develop, the mediator can take a decision to end the meeting and close the case.


What if one person is in the wrong?
Mediation does not seek to prove that one party is right and the other is wrong. It does allow both sides in a dispute to express their concerns to one another and to describe the effect that the other's behaviour has upon them. If it becomes apparent during the course of the mediation process that one party is in the wrong, it is up to them and the other party to decide what action they are willing to take to make things change for the better. This is achieved by entering into an agreement together.


What if previous attempts to reason with one party have failed?
Mediation can help in cases where alternative possible solutions have previously failed. Mediation allows each party to speak about their issues without being challenged or interrupted by the other disputant (personal uninterrupted time). This is probably the first time that they will have been allowed to speak about their problems without interruption. It also ensures that the other party has to listen to what is being said before they can challenge, answer back or put forward their own issues.


Does it work?
Mediation can be very effective when both parties are willing to work together to make changes happen. If there are alterior motives, for instance if a neighbour wants to move and is using neighbour nuisance as a reason to do so, then it will not work. Both parties need to speak in an open and honest way about their issues and to work together to make lasting changes. Neighbours usually want a practical and lasting solution to their issues as they will be living in close proximity to each other for a long period of time.


Is Mediation Confidential?
Mediation is totally confidential and no information will be passed to anyone outside of the mediation meetings except in exceptional circumstances. Individual services have their own confidentiality policy forms with any exclusion described in full for all parties to read prior to entering into the mediation process.


How much does Mediation Cost?
Each individual mediation service gives information on the service they offer and any charges that they may make. Some but not all services are free so please visit the information available on our information pages to verify if there is a charge for services or not.



Myth/Rumour Facts
Mediation is about sitting round a table face-to-face with the other party People only have to meet in a face-to-face meeting if they choose. Mediation is often carried out by ‘shuttle’ mediation where mediators visit each person separately
Mediators will tell us what to do Mediation is about exploring with people what they can do to move the dispute forward to a resolution
There is no point using mediation if no one can make the other party change their behaviour Talking to a neutral third party (the mediator) in confidence about what is happening and exploring different ways forward often helps people to work out their own solutions. Hearing other points of view and clearing up misunderstandings opens up communication and helps people to negotiate what they want. It may also be that organisations with authority are not able to use this authority to change the situation.
If the mediators visit the other party and hear their version of events they will take their side Mediators are totally impartial, they don’t take sides. They are there as a third party to act as a go between and facilitate communication between people. They spend equal amounts of time listening to each person.
I’ll have to take time off work/ college to go to the mediation service Mediators are very flexible and arrange times to visit people entirely at your convenience day or evening
If I use mediation I won’t be able to get the council or the police or my landlord to deal with the situation, it’s passing the buck If mediation doesn’t work you can use any other agency or organisation to try and deal with the problem or can take the situation back to their landlords
Mediation doesn’t work Approximately 65% of mediation cases are judged by the people involved as having a successful outcome
Once the mediators have left there will be nothing to stop people going back to their old behaviour If people have been involved in negotiating an agreement that is good for everyone they are far more likely to stick to it. We review every successful outcome over 2-3 months to check any improvement/ agreement is being kept up. You can also call us at any stage if you feel the situation is getting worse and you don’t feel able to deal with it alone
What will it will cost me? There is a cost but this is often met by other organisations and free at point of delivery to users. Please contact your local organisation via the services page to discuss this.
Before agencies refer a dispute to the mediation service they need to get the permission of both parties Although this is beneficial to the mediation service, it is only necessary to get the permission of the first party before making a referral