WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a process used to resolve disputes. In mediation the parties are assisted by a neutral third-party called a mediator. The mediator does not impose a solution, but rather facilitates communication with the goal of reaching a settlement.
HOW IS MEDIATION DIFFERENT?
Disputes may be resolved in many ways. The parties often try to negotiate a settlement. This can be done directly or through representatives. There are other options such as mediation, arbitration and litigation.
Litigation is adversarial where the judge or jury makes the decision. Often litigation produces a winner and a loser. Through arbitration the parties present their case to a third person who then decides the dispute. In mediation, the parties approach a mediator to help them find a solution. The mediator’s role is to enable the parties to work with each other to achieve a common goal – a mutually acceptable agreement.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
Mediation does not follow any formal format. There is no rules of evidence. The parties can say what they think – even if not relevant or admissible in Court. Mediators will often separate the parties and meet with each individually. That way there can be a candid exchange of ideas outside the presence of the other party which is kept in confidence by the mediator.
The mediator looks for areas of agreement, identifies issues, questions assumptions and makes suggestions. The mediator tailors the process to suit the needs of the parties. If an agreement is reached, the mediator may assist the parties in reducing it to writing.
WHO AND HOW MUCH?
Any neutral person the parties trust can mediate a dispute. This person may be a trained and experienced mediator, a member of a panel of mediation service, or one with specific knowledge of the subject matter. Many professional mediators are certified, have relevant dispute resolution experience and belong to professional organizations.
The costs vary depending upon the mediator selected and the location and time allotted for the mediation. Fees may consist of an initial filing and administrative fee and a retainer, hourly fee or flat fee for the mediator. Usually the expenses are divided equally between the parties.
Mediation can be initiated at any time to resolve any type of dispute. The parties may agree to attempt mediation before arbitration or filing a lawsuit. If the mediation is not successful, the parties may pursue all other rights.
Mediation is a process in which parties come together with the help of a mediator and try to resolve a dispute. Mediation allows the parties to keep control of the outcome and design their own solutions. If mediation produces an agreement, then the parties are free to get on with their lives.