Prepare for neighbourhood mediation

It is important that you go to mediation with an open mind, even if you and your neighbour have been in conflict for some time.

Preparing for your mediation session will help you to:

  • have all of the documents you need on the day
  • keep an open mind
  • work out what’s most important to you and exactly what you want to say
  • find the best way to explain what you want and how you feel.

Contact one of our Dispute Resolution Centres to arrange a mediation session.

See how mediation works.

What to take to mediation

You will get more from mediation if you find the information you need and get your documents together before your session.

Depending on your situation, you could bring with you:

  • quotes
  • notes
  • plans
  • formal documents—such as noise complaints
  • invoices
  • photographs.

The mediators will not need to see these documents because it is not their job to make decisions for you. However, your neighbour may want to see them. Having the documents to look at might also help your discussions on the day.

Think about what you want to say

Be clear about the facts of the disagreement before you go to mediation.

You should think about what you want to say to your neighbour during mediation—it will be important for you to explain clearly what you think the problems are and how you feel.

You should also think about a number of possible solutions that may help to fix the problem for you. The mediator will ask you and your neighbour to suggest solutions that you each feel would solve the disagreement.

Opening statement

You will be asked to make an opening statement during your mediation session.

You could plan this ahead of time. Write down your key concerns and issues so they are clear in your mind and you also have some notes to refer to when you make the statement.

When writing your notes:

  • keep your key points short and to the point
  • write them objectively, without using negative words
  • focus on the problem and how it is affecting you, rather than what you want out of the situation

Don’t start or focus your opening statement on what you want. This could make your neighbour less likely to listen to the rest of what you have to say and less likely to compromise.

Think about how you say it

During your neighbourhood mediation session:

  • try to speak clearly and calmly
  • stay positive
  • be open and honest with your neighbour
  • take part as fully and cooperatively as possible in discussions
  • do not blame the other person for everything
  • maintain appropriate eye contact with the person you are talking to.

Listen to others

As well as being aware of what you say and how you say it you should listen carefully to your neighbour and mediators. Try to:

  • take turns when speaking, don’t interrupt the other party or speak over them
  • give your neighbour a proper chance to tell their side of the story
  • let your neighbour know you are listening
  • make sure that you understand exactly what is being said
  • ask questions if you don’t understand something
  • write down anything you may need to find out or respond to later
  • follow the mediators’ rules.