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What is Mediation?
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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a well established voluntary, non-binding, confidential process in which a neutral person (the mediator) assists the parties in a dispute to reach a negotiated settlement. The terms of such settlement can, by mutual agreement, be made legally binding.

Mediation is distinct from:

  • Arbitration – a private and confidential process by which a third party, and arbitrator, decides the merits of a dispute.
  • Litigation – a public process by which judges determine the rights and wrongs of a dispute.

In mediation the mediator does not have the power to impose a settlement, but rather through a well recognised process, the mediator assists the parties to break impasses (which most often arise from either a lack of trust in the integrity of the other party, or from a difference of opinion on the facts underlying the dispute or the probable outcome of the case were it to go to arbitration or court) and facilitates the reaching of an agreed amicable settlement.

Mediation procedures are very flexible and can be tailored to suit the particular needs of the dispute and the parties involved. The mediator may take the role of a shuttle diplomat acting as channel of communication between the parties, filtering out or tempering the emotional elements which are often involved and allowing the parties to focus on the important and real underlying situation and objectives. The mediator encourages the parties to reach an agreement themselves and will not and cannot impose one upon them.

Mediation is a quick and inexpensive means of resolving disputes, especially when compared with the alternatives of arbitration and litigation, and has a proven record as a successful tool for resolving disputes of all kinds.

Mediation should always be considered when disagreements exist between parties, prior to proceeding to arbitration or litigation.

Advantages of Mediation

  • The process provides a neutral, supportive and constructive environment in which the parties in dispute can reconcile their differences.
  • The Parties, with the assistance of a mediator, control the outcome of their dispute.
  • Promotes communication between the parties.
  • Time is used efficiently
  • Cost effective
  • Confidential process
  • Promotes an effective way of resolving disputes through cooperative decision making
  • Settlement is not imposed but agreed by mutual consent of the parties
  • Continued personal and business relationships are maintained after settlement.

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