A year ago my colleague and I facilitated a mediation session. The only complaint was a barking dog. Relationships between both woman had broken down due the dog barking and disturbing her sleep pattern. The session was successful. They agreed they would approach each other direct and exchanged mobile numbers should there be any problems in future. The dog owner obviously could not promise her dog would never bark but both parties shook hands and felt they benefitted from talking things through.
A year later I receive a call from a local solicitor stating he will be citing me for court as his client has proceeded with Civil Court Action re her neighbours dog continually barking. I explained that mediation is confidential and anything discussed at the session remained confidential and our guidelines clearly state that anything discussed within a mediation session cannot later be used in court. I also explained that i remain impartial throughout. He said that he was given a copy of the agreement letter by his client and no where on my later did it state i couldn’t be asked to give evidence in court and he would be citing me regardless.
His client was clearly made aware at the time of the session of confidentiality and that anything said within mediation cannot later be used in court etc but has proceeded with a Civil Court Action regardless. Falkirk Council legal team state it is highly unlikely i will be asked to give evidence. Nonetheless i could be asked to speak at court. I obviously can only speak to faciliating the session, the mediation process and I will not divulge any other details.
Have any other mediators experienced this? What we will be doing in future from now on is clearly stating at the bottom of our agreement letters that anything said within mediation cannot later be used in court. We do specify this clearly on our printed guidelines and reiterate this to clients however we will be adding something to that effect on our agreement letters as soon as possible.
Any views / thoughts / experiences are welcome!