The interviewed mediators recognize the importance of the initial phase of the mediation process. When asked about the preparatory stage of the mediation procedure, which consists of preparation of the mediator himself, as well as the mediation room even though mediators take into account the difficulties they have in terms of working conditions and accommodation. In general mediators at the Center for Agreements and Mediation at Sofia Regional Court and Sofia City Court in the Republic of Bulgaria do not prepare for mediation by reading the case. They avoid any pre-mediation case review in order to remain impartial and prevent the creation of pre-set attitudes which could prevent them from being impartial.

There is also another not factual, but purely legal moment regarding the mediator’s preliminary acquaintance with the case files when the case is pending in court annexed program. In Bulgarian legislature access to open cases is allowed to the parties involved, specifically authorized persons and their attorneys. Mediators do not have access to the cases, even though they are part of the personnel of the Center for Agreements and Mediation at Sofia Regional Court and Sofia City Court. Mediators do not have document certifying that they are mediators with the Center.

We re going to look more closely to the stages in mediation and how proximity appears and how significant could be in certan moments.

Place for Mediation Procedure – Mediation Room. Location of the furniture in the mediation room – table, chairs and auxiliary equipment.

According to Barbara Madonik “The environment in which mediation takes place can greatly influence the success of the mediation itself”. Successful mediation is the goal of the procedure, therefore the factors of the space should not be underestimated. Factors such as: the spatial layout of the furniture, their shape, the size of the mediation room, lighting, the spatial arrangement of the parties, the creation of a secure and comfortable negotiating environment, balancing of the power and inspiring respect and mutual regard, taking into account the cultural differences concerning the space, use of auxiliary products, drinks, computers and the availability of internet if necessary, etc.

Barbara Madonik also recommends paying attention to the small details that could influence the outcome of the mediation procedure. From her long experience as a mediator, she emphasizes the importance of having the chairs in the mediation room to be the same to all participants in order to create a sense of equality for all participants. Likewise, if all chairs are not the same, they should not be grouped in order to avoid associations with opposing teams and camps.

However, the procedure must result in agreement and every element of the environment should lead the parties to cooperation, not rivalry. Because each person has respective preferences for perceiving information, some are auditory, some are kinesthetic or visual. This should also be taken into account by the mediator in preparation for the mediation room. There are people who need to move or change the posture of their body more often; for others it is very important to have conditions for easy perception of what is said, without noise and other irritating factors, and others prefer to take notes or to illustrate the information. The mediation room should be spacious, with windows for natural light and be ventilated before the procedure begins.

The room in which mediation takes place is generally of the unfixed space type. Due to the informal and voluntary nature of the procedure there are no statutory requirements for the place and manner in which such space should be organized. There are also no mandatory requirements for mediation to take place in a building or a public building, such as the requirements with regard to the holding of court hearings.

If a court hearing is held outside the court building without prior consent of the Court Chairman due to circumstances that can be characterized as “exceptional”, it follows that there will be a violation of the statutory rules and, accordingly, of the procedural acts committed during a court meeting.

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Author's Bio: 

George Krishton having over 5 years of experience into content writing, wrote articles globally for small and medium size business.