WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a conflict resolution process that offers an alternative to going to court to resolve a wide spectrum of legal and commercial disputes in a less formal environment.
Mediation involves the use of an independent third party to facilitate a confidential, impartial and interests-based process.
In a mediation, parties are heard fairly and are empowered by the cooperative process to come to their own resolution of the dispute through a deeper exploration of all of the issues.
Key to the process is the impartiality and confidentiality of the process, and the facilitation and technical skills of the Mediator.
Importantly, unlike judicial processes, the mediator does not make any judgements or conclusions or tell the parties who is right or wrong. The parties will jointly come to their own conclusions through the mediation process.
Mediation is particularly useful in:
• complex or multi-party disputes;
• matters where parties have become bogged down in entrenched “positions”;
• situations where parties will work together in the future; and
• if parties are looking to avoid protracted and costly litigation.
Mediation is less formal than an arbitration or court proceedings. Legal advisors may attend the mediation in an advisory role, but it is the parties who will lead the discourse. As a result, Mediation is very useful in resolving matters in dispute between parties inexpensively.
Most mediations are resolved in one day.
Mediation can be implemented at any stage of a dispute, and may be utilised in conjunction with court proceedings. Confidentiality ensures that there is no public disclosure of what occurs at the mediation, and parties are not forced or ordered to reach an agreement or settlement. This often results in more satisfactory outcomes for all parties.
The advantages of Mediation are that in many situations:
• disputes can be resolved quickly before they escalate;
• disputes can be resolved inexpensively and without the need to going through a rigid court structure;
• disputes are resolved utilising co-operation, negotiation and a controlled mediation process; and
• the mutual interests of all parties are considered and taken into account once resolution is reached.