The image of a typical mediation meeting would traditionally involve participants sitting around a table. Covid-19 has shown us how mediation meetings can be adapted and can take place remotely. At Anthony Gold, even prior to the pandemic, we would routinely undertake mediation with clients who were based in different geographical locations (national and international mediation) which would prevent face to face mediation and in cross-border matters.
Remote mediation has been eased over the years with changes in technology and affordable products on the market utilising the internet which has enabled free video-based communication. Mediation can take place over Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or even FaceTime. The varied types of communication also allows different forms of mediation such as shuttle mediation to take place remotely.
These facilities have enabled separating couples and parents who live a distant from one another or who are in different countries, a mode of communication without the cost of, and the time involved in travelling, and being away from work for a significant period of time, which could be a huge concern for those who are self-employed.
The ability to undertake remote mediation in international cases is of great value in cross-border cases, whereby separated parents and mediators who are based in different countries can mediate online by way of video technology.
Technology, International Mediation, and Child Abduction
In our experience, remote mediation in international matters has been of huge benefit where speed is an issue, urgently re-establishing indirect contact with a child who has been unlawfully removed or retained and in international and national relocation cases. Issues concerning culture, language and even gender can be addressed when selecting a mediator. The voice of the child can also be raised in the mediation process.
Urgent discussions can take place in a safe and confidential environment addressing matters such as:
- The return of a child or their living arrangements
- Contact with the absent parent (both direct and indirect)
- Financial arrangements and maintenance
- Who will pay for flights
- Which parent will be responsible for travel
- How will school holidays be divided
- Which university will children attend
- Whether children will be registered in bilingual schools
- The religious and cultural upbringing of a child
- Dual passports
- Addressing any criminal proceedings which might be underway
Should there be a short court hearing to address specific issues to bring matters to a swift conclusion.
If an agreement is reached and recorded in a Memorandum of Understanding and the agreement is reflected in an order of the court so that it is legally binding, consideration should be given to obtaining a mirror order in the foreign jurisdiction.
For effective international mediation, you should consult a specialist mediator with a conscientious approach to the paperwork in a situation where there may be little by way of international recognition or enforcement.