My two most recent mediations were very different but both followed the same format which for me was unusual.
The first case dealt with the end of a commercial contract and the second with the end of a marriage. In each case I kept the parties together throughout.
The only time the parties were separate was on the commercial case when, for about twenty minutes, one of the parties needed time to make some calculations.
These were the first cases where I have encouraged, based on the parties and the atmosphere on the day, to try and keep the parties together throughout. I’ve been sceptical of this in the past, not least because conventional training tends to promote the use of joint opening session and then splitting for private sessions. This is especially the case where solicitors were present (as there were for one of these cases).
This is how things have worked for me in the past, but with both these cases ending speedily with a good “SMART” resolution, it showed once again that training is one thing, but how you adapt your training to the real world and the requirements of the parties is something else completely.