Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which the outcome of the dispute is voluntarily controlled by both parties. Unlike litigation, the results of mediation are never uncertain or imposed by a third party. Instead, both parties work together with a mediator to explore options for resolution – the results of which should appease to both parties in some way.
The flexible nature of mediation means that the process comes with a huge number of benefits for both parties, as discussed below.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation creates an adaptable environment in which both parties can explore in-depth the issues which are most important to them. This process allows parties to gain a deeper understanding of the other party, and be better understood themselves.
Unlike litigation which can take months, and sometimes years to resolve, mediation allows parties to take control of their timing. In resolving disputes through mediation, parties save time and avoid the delay of a third party or judicially-decided outcome.
Correspondingly, and perhaps most obviously, mediation can dramatically increase the chances of resolving a dispute without incurring the substantial legal costs associated with litigation.
Another benefit of mediation is that it usually results in an all-round more positive conclusion. Parties are given an opportunity to work together and resolve their issues in an understanding and non-judgemental environment. This atmosphere means parties are collaborating rather than viewing each other as opponents, allowing them to move forwards from the dispute productively.
The confidential nature of mediation also means that it’s easier for both parties to move on following a dispute. Whilst lawsuits are matters of public record, what transpires at a mediation can be kept confidential by agreement. Regardless of when mediation takes place – whether its before or after filing for a lawsuit – all communication generated at a mediation is strictly confidential.
Finally, mediation can be a highly empowering process for the parties involved. During the mediation process, parties are entrusted to decide for themselves whether they would like to resolve a dispute, and how they go about this. Although the mediator can advise the parties, he or she cannot give opinions or legal advice. Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of both parties. The element of self-determination involved in mediation ultimately reflects the higher aspirations of how parties in question want to conduct their personal and professional lives moving forward.