Manon Schonewille on the Practicalities of Moving Your Mediation Business Online (27 March 2020)


Manon Schonewille

SIMI Certified Mediator, IMI Certified Mediator & IMI Certified Mediation Advocate

About her

Manon Schonewille is a highly experienced commercial business mediator since 1996, SIMI Certified Mediator, IMI Certified Mediator and IMI Certified Mediation Advocate, MfN register mediator, as well as name partner at S&S Business Mediation office in Rotterdam The Netherlands.

Throughout four continents, Manon Schonewille has mediated commercial cases and trained and taught professionals in the advanced use of mediation and negotiation techniques, especially in intercultural settings. She consults with individual professionals, corporations and governmental organizations about conflict management, negotiation and setting up Dispute Prevention programs. In addition to this, she is founder and partner in a dispute resolution and deal making training and resource center Toolkit Company | The Legal Rebel Company.

Her specialty lies in B2B and cross-border mediation.



Manon Schonewille's webinar

Time: 4:00PM CET

With COVID-19 spreading its wings around the world, everyone is moving their profession online and mediators are no different. Manon Schonewille’s webinar on practicalities of moving your mediation online was apt and very informative. She had a structured presentation on points to be kept in mind for the online mediation's process.

Manon began her presentation by stating that mediators should let their clients know that (s)he is willing to conduct online mediations and also of the benefits of going online. Online mediation can be as effective as a face to face mediation and just as cost saving, if not better. It is essential for the mediator to advertise online mediation on their professional webpages.

If the method of online mediation has been chosen, the mediator can choose between different video chat applications such as but not exhaustive to Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and Whatsapp to organize the mediation. When choosing an application, Manon advises to pick one with features - such as waiting rooms, breakout rooms, white boards, and more - which can be useful during mediation. It is advisable to also hold technical checks with each party before the start of the mediation to ensure that the parties are comfortable with the set-up and systems are functioning well. Parties should also be informed of alternative communication methods such as teleconference - group video call on Whatsapp in case of possible technical glitches during the mediation.

The mediator should ensure that the room has a formal background and with no disturbance during the mediation. To avoid embarrassment, the mediator is advised to close all opened applications on their computer to avoid unnecessary messages popping up on the screen during the mediation session. It would also be preferable to mute microphones when a person is not talking to avoid background noises and echoes.

At the start of the mediation, the mediator should conduct a room check to ensure that only parties to the matter are present in the room. The mediator should also make known to the parties that they should always inform the former if anyone enter or leave the room. Parties should be informed that the third-party application used for online mediation may not be secure and that they are not allowed to audio or video record the mediation.

Should a settlement be reached and a mediation agreement is drafted by the mediator, the final version should be shared with the parties through email for them to sign and return a copy. In such cases, it is advisable to have a clause in the mediation agreement to state that if several copies are signed separately, each copy would be original and together they would constitute the mediation agreement. This clause should be modified according to the requirements of the applicable law.

Manon concluded the session by answering questions from participants and sharing a checklist for online mediation compiled by her. The session was well received with 64 participants joining the webinar from different parts of the world.

- by Swarupa Madhavan