Shuttle mediation 

Family Mediation - What is shuttle mediation? (Do we have to sit in a room together?)


Shuttle mediation is so called because the mediator will "shuttle" between the participants to the mediation who remain in different rooms who usually do not communicate with each other save through the mediator.


Shuttle mediation is quite common in commercial mediations which are often between companies.


It is less common in family mediation.


Most family mediation is by joint meetings - that is both parties sit in a room together with the mediator and all three people communicating with each other.  This can be face to face or via video conference.


Sometimes shuttle mediation is necessary.


This can be for a number of reasons:



  • One person may be afraid of the other as there has been an abusive relationship. It may be that in fact mediation is not suitable in those circumstances and this will be discussed in detail and with care by the mediator.
  • There may be an inequality between the two participants leading one participant to feel they will be pushed into a resolution by the other .. This may be emotional, psychological, financial or professional. This will be carefully discussed, safeguards and boundaries suggested to over come this however it may be necessary depending upon the actual concerns.
  • There may have been no communication at all between the participants prior to the mediation process. This can make sitting in the same room very difficult or impossible.
  • There may be emotional reasons why the participants do not wish to be in the same room. For example, hurt, distrust, dislike.



There can be a number of benefits to sitting in a room together even if you are not that keen. Mainly you get to hear what the other person says,"From the horse's mouth." You can also observe body language and facial expression.  If you are in separate rooms, you have to rely on the Mediator to try to explain to you the other person's point of view and explain what your wishes are. Being in the same room also means there is no need to repeat what the other person has said as you will hear each other, and no time spent walking between rooms. Shuttle mediation also inevitably leaves each person on their own as the mediator moves between each room.



The top priority is to have a safe and effective mediation and the mediator will spend time discussing your needs and what you feel comfortable with.





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© Mary Raymont