Mediation is an established means of resolving or settling disputes between two or more parties and is an effective alternative to court proceedings.
Disputes between individuals or companies (Participants) can be settled in several ways:
Tribunal eg Employment
The above may be time consuming or costly and, in most cases, both. They usually result in there being a clear winner and a loser. The consequences for the loser can be catastrophic either financially or loss of reputation or both.
An alternative, sometimes called Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR, is mediation where the parties may meet in the presence of a trained mediator and settle their dispute in private. Almost all medium to large firms of lawyers now have ADR or mediation departments.
What is Mediation?
What is the role of a mediator?
The mediator is trained in dispute resolution and will act as a chairman/referee/facilitator without passing judgement on either the participants or the merits of their arguments. The mediator must be totally impartial.
Mediation is facilitative rather than evaluative. The mediator’s role is to help the participants to resolve the matter themselves.
He or she will to bring the participants together in a safe neutral environment and allow the participants to present their case to each other. His role is to listen very carefully and just as importantly to encourage the parties to listen to each other. This may be something of a novelty for the participants.
The mediator is independent of the participants and impartial.
The mediator may not proffer advice or recommend solutions. Even if a solution is blindingly obvious to the mediator, he must gently encourage the participants to reach their own solution. It is likely to be longer lasting.
It is inexpensive compared with Court proceedings.
It is much quicker than Court proceedings.
The process is entirely voluntary.
Confidentiality. Nothing said may be repeated outside or in Court.
It is without prejudice. Nothing said or done may be used in Court as evidence.
Resolution is consensual.
The agreement is binding once the participants have signed up to it.