What is online mediation?
Online mediation is a popular alternative to traditional mediations, allowing the conflicting parties and mediator to work together from remote locations using video tech platforms. We at Seek Mediation have been at the forefront of promoting Online Mediation, with due safeguards for your privacy and confidentiality. Be assured that no major IT skill sets are required. If you can use a smart phone or any other digital device, you should be just fine.
What video platform do you I need for online mediation?
Seek Mediation has chosen Zoom as its preferred video platform. You should make sure that you have Zoom downloaded on your device well before commencement of the session. For a desktop/laptop/iPad, you can download Zoom from https://zoom.us/ .We recommend you sign up for a free Zoom account. Although free accounts allow group sessions lasting 40 minutes only, this time restriction will not apply to Seek Mediationdiscussions as we subscribe to a paid version of the platform. For an iPhone or Android phone, simply download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app.
How does online mediation work?
- When a scheduled online mediation session is planned, we will send you a message or mail containing a link and password to join the Zoom session.
- This activity would normally be done at least 12 hour prior to the meeting. Normally, we start the online mediation session by ascertaining every stakeholder’s presence and sorting out any residual IT related issues to prevent distractions thereafter.
- The first session is always a joint session wherein we explain the ground rules, online mediation process and the use of the break-out rooms. Basically, at this stage, everyone is able to see and hear everyone else. The parties or their counsels can make their initial presentations or statements at this stage.
- Thereafter, we split into private break-out rooms which are private from each other and the conversations that occur there remain completely confidential. You can always see who is in the break-out room, so you know who all you are talking to. The other party will be in their own private break-out room, so you won’t be able to hear them and vice versa.
- The mediator will shuttle from break-out room to break-out room, very much akin to normal in-person traditional mediation. When the mediator leaves a particular break-out room, the remaining parties in that room will still be able to talk privately. This kind of an approach provides a very high degree of privacy.
- If any time you want to share docs, videos or presentations during the session, the platform allows for “screen sharing”. Although Zoom allows recording of sessions, Seek Mediation has a very strict policy on the subject and no recordings are ever carried out. This is very much in line with conventions of traditional mediation.
- Successful mediations generally terminate with drafting of a Settlement document which is signed off once everyone is happy with it. In this case, the Settlement sheet will be shared by e-mail and debated upon for fine-tuning in the Zoom sessions. Once everyone is satisfied, the same will be manually circulated for signature to be in conformity with Article 73(3) of the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. This type of an agreement has the legal sanctity of an arbitral award under Section 74 of the said Act.