What is Mediation?
Lawyers advising parties in dispute are becoming increasingly aware of the need to consider ways of helping their clients to resolve disputes without becoming involved in potentially costly and protracted court proceedings.
Mediation is one such alternative and has many advantages to litigation. Mediation, put simply, is facilitated negotiation. A mediator is someone that has been trained to assist the parties to communicate and negotiate effectively with each other. The mediator helps parties in dispute to find solutions that make more sense to both of them than continuing the dispute. In a facilitated mediation the mediator does not impose his views or a decision upon the parties but, throughout the mediation, remains neutral allowing the parties to remain in control of the dispute and the outcome.
Mediation does not follow a set procedure. The mediation may be conducted entirely in “private session” (i.e. meetings with the mediator and each party separately – often referred to as caucusing); it may take place almost entirely in joint session (where the mediator meets with all of the parties together) or it could involve a combination of the two.
The mediator will explore with the parties what the issues are and what they want to achieve; he will help the parties to identify possible solutions. If the parties reach agreement he will usually assist the parties by recording the agreed settlement terms in writing and arranging for both parties to sign the agreement. It is only after a settlement agreement has been signed by all of the parties that it becomes binding.
If you have any questions about mediation and whether it is right for you/your dispute please do not hesitate to contact Susan Blake.