What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which an impartial or neutral third party assists disputants in finding a mutually acceptable solution. It is both confidential and voluntary. It is participatory. Parties have the chance to voice their feelings and are involved in creating solutions to end their dispute. Mediation is thus a combination of willingness of the parties to resolve their disputes and the skills of the Mediator to guide parties towards a settlement.
Why do we need Mediation?
It is a good method of resolving disputes, especially those involving relationships which are not easily resolved through the litigation process, to the mutual satisfaction of both sides. These relationships can be personal, commercial, contractual or social.
Does Mediation really help?
Yes it does. Intense conflict tends to generate misunderstandings and suspicion. Many of these evaporate and vanish when parties are able to talk directly and air their grievances through the Mediation process. Because Mediation is not bound by the rules of a formal proceeding, the parties can bring up whatever concerns them most. They are not restricted to those issues which are the official, public subject of a dispute. The written settlement helps by protecting parties from further friction and misunderstandings so that the conflict can just fade away.
What are the advantages of Mediation?
- It immediately puts disputants in control of both the dispute and its resolution.
- The process is voluntary and parties can opt out of it at any time if they feel it does not help them.
- The process is confidential, the procedure is simple and the atmosphere is informal. Procedure can be modified to suit the demands of each case. Mediation can be initiated at any stage in a case - pre-litigation, during trial or at the appeal stage. Issues can be limited or expanded during the course of the proceedings.
- It shows parties the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases which helps them find realistic solutions.
- It focuses on long-term interests, examines alternatives and helps create options for settlement. It gives an opportunity to parties to fully resolve all their differences.
- The process improves communication between the parties which is crucial to resolving any dispute.
- Disputants save precious time and energy. Time spent in Mediation is significantly less than the time needed for trial and appeal. A case which lasts for years in court can be disposed of within days, weeks or months after Mediation starts.
- Disputants save costs on what invariably becomes a prolonged litigation. It is less expensive than other forms of dispute resolution. If the case is settled through Mediation, the court fee paid by the plaintiff is refunded.
- Mediation helps restore broken relationships and focuses on improving the future, not on dissecting the past.
- Parties opt for more by signing a settlement that works to benefit both.
- At the end of Mediation, disputants can actually shake hands with their opponents.
- With every case that is settled, other related cases between the parties also get settled.
- There is no further appeal. It saves judicial cost and time.