Solicitors can play an important role in mediation. Generally they are not present at sessions. However, clients do need advice from time to time during the mediation process. Mediators can give information about legal issues but are not allowed to give ‘advice’ to individual clients as this would prevent them from being neutral. So Mediators will signal to clients when in their view such advice would be helpful and they will encourage clients to get advice when this may be helpful. Clients will then get advice out of session.
Occasionally Solicitors can be present during sessions but this would only occur in an exceptionally difficult case when both clients are agreed that their solicitors should attend.
Solicitors are normally essential when mediation has reached agreed proposals. Clients ought to get legal advice on the agreed proposals, especially if they involve financial arrangements. If clients want to have their agreed proposals incorporated into a draft consent order so that a judge can approve them (thereby making their agreed proposals legally binding) then they will undoubtedly need the help of solicitors.