Essentially mediation is nothing more than a meeting in which the parties seek to resolve their differences with the help of an intermediary.
Mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential process and widely used as an alternative to litigation.
While the greatest appeal of mediation is that it is cheaper and quicker than going to court, there are also other favourable benefits.
Mediation is voluntary
Unlike litigation, no one can be forced to participate. Although any side to a dispute can suggest mediation, all parties need to first agree to it by signing a pre-Mediation Agreement.
Parties are also free to choose to:
- Go with a lawyer, a friend or relative
- Speak directly to each other; opt to only talk to the mediator in private session, or both
- Sign the final agreement
- Leave the mediation at any stage
Mediation is informal
- It takes place in a neutral space and at a time that most suits everyone
- The setting can be an office, someone’s house or a hired venue
- Parties are encouraged to speak for themselves, even if a lawyer is present
- Anyone accompanying the parties is free to speak at any time and attends the whole mediation as it unfolds
Although agreements are not binding, they can be made so by a court. For the most part however, agreements are adhered to given that they have been jointly formulated by the parties and therefore meet most of their needs.
Mediation is confidential
What is said in mediation cannot be used in court or disclosed beyond the walls of the mediation itself.
Its confidential nature also means that:
- Identity and privacy are protected
- Commercial cases are kept out of the public eye and safeguard both personal and professional reputations
- In workplace disputes, the matter is kept in-house
What happens in Mediation?
Through a series of private and/or joint meetings, the mediator assists the parties to clarify their own needs and positions and to understand each other’s, in order to facilitate dialogue and a solution.
- Mediation generally lasts between half a day and a day, though some cases may require more time
- The parties needs and wishes dictate whether discussions occur in joint or private sessions
- All participants speak without interruption and name-calling
- All parties have equal time with the mediator
What is the mediator’s role?
The mediator is neutral and as such is not there to advise, pressure either side or impose an agreement.
The mediator is impartial; for the most part he or she is unacquainted to either side and does not have a conflict of interests. Were there to be one however, it would need to be disclosed prior to mediation.
His or her role is to help the parties to:
- Explore issues and options
- Look for possible areas of agreement
- Facilitate a way out of a deadlock
Who is Mediation for?
Anyone can use Mediation for a variety of issues, including:
- Small Claims
- Neighbourhood disputes
- Financial disputes within families
- Personal injury
- Disputes arising from commercial contracts and services
- Workplace issues such as personality clashes, bullying, unfair dismissal etc.
- Divorce, access to children and distribution of finances and debts
For more information about what my mediation services entail and their cost, please go to http://www.choiceconflictresolution.com/mediation.html