What is Mediation?
Mediation is a settlement negotiation with the assistance of a neutral third party mediator. A mediator’s main responsibility is to aid parties in reaching a settlement by supporting and assisting communication between the conflicting parties. Mediators do not make determinations, find fault or issue orders.
What is the mediation process?
Generally, the disputing parties will meet with the mediator and informally explain their opinions of the dispute. After this step, the mediator will meet with each party separately with the intention of discussing the dispute in depth and to explore possible solutions to resolve the conflict. It is very common for a mediator to have multiple meetings with each party. Once the parties come to a verbal agreement they will generally enter into a written agreement.
Benefits of Mediation:
- Many individuals experience a higher degree of satisfaction through mediation than arbitration or trial because they have a higher level of control over the result and can play an active role in the dispute resolution.
- Mediation is much more informal and flexible than arbitration or court hearings.
Disadvantages of Mediation:
- It is difficult to get to the truth of the matter at hand because lawyers are not able to question individuals who would otherwise possibly reveal evidence under oath in a courtroom.
- Bargaining power may not be equal as there are no formal rules or discovery.
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement they will typically have to take the matter to trial which is more time consuming and expensive than mediation.