Interest-based mediation is the most common form of mediation practised. It is also referred to as “facilitative mediation,” “understanding mediation,” and “assisted negotiation.”
The mediator’s role in this process is to guide the process and to:
- encourage parties to listen actively,
- ensure that all parties have a fair opportunity to express themselves,
- help the parties to be clear about their underlying interests (hopes, desires, wants, fears, etc.),
- meet separately, if necessary, with each side (caucus) during mediation, if it appears that it will help the parties to make progress, and
- ask open ended questions to bring exploration and discussion of the issues and identify and clarify interests and assumptions.
During this process, the mediator will not offer an opinion or make decisions for any party and will respect each party’s autonomy to reach its own agreement that suits its unique circumstances.