What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby a neutral third party (the Mediator) assists the parties in a conflict to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement. The parties control the outcome, not the mediator, whose main role is to facilitate the process towards agreeable resolution. This is achieved by facilitating communication and promoting understanding between the parties in a manner which helps them understand the full range of issues and opinions involved and secure realistic solutions to enable the parties to reach solutions to which they feel ownership.
The mediator does not decide the legal merits of the dispute. He/she merely assists the parties to reach a conclusion. In this respect, the process differs to Court or Arbitration proceedings, which normally impose outcomes on the parties. With independent mediation, if all of the parties do not agree the outcome, the dispute remains unresolved.
Mediation gives the parties much more control, both over the way their disputes or differences are dealt with and over the outcome. If negotiations to date have failed, mediation provides an alternative to pursuing litigation or other more formal processes, and is a much more cost effective solution.
The prospects for securing solutions is generally greater than the remedies available in courts and arbitration tribunals, or even in prolonged negotiation, as the mediator can discuss suitable outcomes acceptable rather than imposed.
Cost – Mediation costs considerably less than litigation.
Efficient – Mediation can usually settle a dispute within one or two sessions.
Effective – Around 85% of disputes settle following Mediation.
Informal - The process of Mediation is flexible and informal, and can be adapted to suit the parties' needs. It is not necessary to have a lawyer represent you during the mediation process. However, some individuals/businesses feel more comfortable with a lawyer being present.
Empowering – Parties are involved in the resolution of their problem and this often means that the relationship (whether it be personal or business) can continue after the dispute.
Confidential – Any information discussed / disclosed during the mediation will be confidential.