WHAT IS MEDIATION AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Mediators can help resolve the most common disputes such as those that occur in the workplace or disputes that arise during separation and divorce with regard to custody issues, parenting, maintenance of children / spouse and the division of assets and liabilities and cases regarding civil litigation from real estate transactions to personal injury
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process provided by a neutral third party to assist two or more parties to resolve their dispute and reach a voluntary settlement.
The neutral does not make a decision
The parties may terminate the process at any time.
Parties to a mediation meet privately with the mediator to resolve their dispute on their own terms, rather than a judge or arbitrator making a decision after hearing evidence
Mediation is confidential and without prejudice and cannot be used in court.
The parties are encouraged to seek independent legal advice and to have counsel present at the mediation.
Where a voluntary settlement is achieved, it only becomes binding when the parties have concluded a settlement agreement.
How Can Mediation Help?
If you are undergoing disputes or conflicts, mediation may be the answer.
Mediation can be used whether or not the parties have already started another process such as a court action.
In fact, in civil disputes, many courts now require and will impose mediation prior to a trial.
How much does mediation cost?
Costs vary, depending on such things as:
- How many parties are involved.
- Whether lawyers are participating in the mediation.
- How many issues there are to discuss in mediation.
Some of the things Mediators are paid or reimbursed for include:
- Time spent helping parties prepare for mediation.
- Time spent in mediation.
- Travel time to and from mediation, if in another city.
- Rental of a mediation room.
- Other possible expenses incurred by the Mediator for the mediation.
Costs are usually split equally between the parties
THE MEDIATION PROCESS
The mediator will help you to resolve your problem so that you are the decision-maker.
During the process of mediation, the mediator will meet with the parties jointly and individually as required, to work towards resolution of issues.
The role of the mediator includes:
- Reducing the obstacles to communication
- Maximizing the exploration of alternatives
- Addressing the needs of those involved or affected
The mediator assists the parties in a conflict resolution process which focuses on the needs and interests of the participants, fairness, privacy, self-determination and the best interests of both parties.
Where there are legal disputes, parties to mediation are strongly advised to obtain independent legal counsel, preferably before mediation commences and in any event before a final agreement is reached.
Mediators do not provide legal advice or professional opinions but may provide general information for the parties.
- Usually mediation saves you money compared to going to court.
- Mediation is usually a faster process for resolving conflict than court action.
- You participate in the resolution of your dispute. Better than having a judge impose a solution no one likes.
- Your relationship with the other party is preserved. (for example as customer, supplier, business associate, parent or spouse).
- You can keep the situation private.
Many courts now demand that mediation precede any litigation or trial and thus becomes your trial “ticket”. About 80% of the cases that I mediate are settled on the day of Mediation. Of the remaining 20%, probably half of those settle within the next couple of weeks, based on the progress made in Mediation; and of the other 10%, probably half of those will eventually settle prior to trial. Therefore about 95% of all civil suits are settled prior to trial. Do not be terribly discouraged that your case did not settle at Mediation; if you are concerned, however, and would REALLY like to settle, you need to let your attorney know that.