Mediation is a consensual process in which a neutral person helps the parties to a settlement. It involves a trained and neutral mediator helping the parties to resolve the dispute. The parties appoint the mediator and it is they who are therefore in control of the mediation process. Most importantly the parties reach a settlement that is agreeable to them.
Central to the recent changes to the civil litigation system is the encouragement being given for alternative ways of trying to resolve differences rather than litigation or the court process. Mediation is one such alternative and is a form of dispute resolution that has a high record of success.
Effectively mediation is one way of resolving these disputes either before or during the court process. The court process can be intimidating, slow and often results in neither party being satisfied with the outcome.
Benefits of mediation
- A mediator helps the parties to find their own solution which is agreeable to them
- An experienced and trained/accredited mediator helps the party to manage the process, look at creative approaches and to guide parties
- It can restore commercial relationships between the parties
- It has a high success rate.It is a confidential process
- It avoids costly litigation
- It saves time and avoids an intimidating process at court
- It is a voluntary process and any party may withdraw at any time. When a settlement is reached there is a legally binding contract between the parties
What is the actual process?
Most mediations follow certain guidelines although there are no set rules. Before the mediation each party will provide a brief review of their dispute in writing to the mediator. This is normally agreed with the other party. A common set of documents is usually also provided.
An agreed venue is set and the parties together with their representatives will meet with the mediator at the agreed venue. There is usually an opening session and thereafter the mediator will meet the parties, in turn, in private meetings. The mediator will probe more into the nature of the dispute to help the parties each an agreement. If an agreement is reached then a legally binding settlement is drawn up which is enforceable.
For further information on mediation contact a member of the Mediation Team.