Some parties refuse to meet with the other side. For whatever reason, they do not trust them. When an Applicant’s Attorney told me, “She refuses to meet with them,” my response was “She doesn’t have to.”
Most of my mediations start with a joint session with all the participants in one room. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When mistrust prevents parties from defining and resolving issues, I meet with parties separately, a process called “caucusing.” We use separate rooms when space permits, or parties alternately enter and exit the mediation room. While in caucus, parties can lay out their concerns in confidence. I do not disclose what anyone said without permission. One of the cornerstones of mediation is confidentiality.