As part of Cloisters’ response to the pandemic, a cross-discipline working group of barristers at Cloisters have been exploring and fine-tuning the ability to use remote video conferencing for multi-party settlement meetings and mediations.  We believe that in many cases, this will be a realistic and likely requirement to meet our clients’ continuing needs.

Our “proof of concept” Video shows how workable this is (although it comes with a warning:  the audio/video quality is not ideal, due to variable broadband connectivity issues which we experienced in our home areas, and does not reflect the quality in real time).

The attached guide is a record of our evolving understanding of how this technology can be used, and the challenges and opportunities it offers.  It is drafted specifically for Microsoft Teams, but we expect it will be in large part applicable to other video conferencing tools offering similar function such as Webex, Skype for Business and Zoom. 

Using remote video conferencing technology for multi-party settlement meetings is a novel initiative driven by the pandemic, and this guide is drafted in the very early days of our trialling this technology.  At a time when we are obliged to work remotely where possible, the advantages associated with using this technology are exciting, both for multi-party settlement meetings led by  mediators  or by representatives. It is important, however, to be alive to potential limitations and thorny practical problems which may arise. We will continue to work together to discover and resolve issues.  The guide will require updating, probably quite soon. 

We actively welcome comments, criticisms and ideas for further development and look forward to working with colleagues to make the best and most appropriate use of this and other remote working options for multi-party settlement meetings with and without neutral mediators.

Click on the links below to access:

  1. Virtual Settlement Meetings and Mediations Guide
  2. Example Contact Sheet