Mediation is a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) that allows parties who are in dispute attempt to resolve the conflict by seeking a compromise that leads to a mutually agreed outcome without the necessity of going to court.
A mediator is a neutral person that is agreed upon by both parties and who acts as an independent facilitator who assists the parties to collaboratively work together to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to the dispute; a resolution that all parties can agree upon. The mediation process is voluntary and allows the parties the opportunity to attempt a without prejudice, or off the record, attempt to resolve the conflict. If the process fails the mediation process remains confidential and the parties can proceed towards the judicial system and trial.
The benefit of mediation is that it is less expensive, more efficient and a faster way to resolve disputes. Because both parties have to agree to the result each party has control over the outcome. In a judicial setting, a third party, usually a judge, decides the outcome of the dispute which has the potential to result in a decision that none of the parties are happy with. Mediation avoids that risk. At the end of a successful mediation the parties know exactly what the outcome is going to be as they have been a part in creating it.
Arbitration is another form of Alternate Dispute Resolution wherein parties agree to proceed to an arbitration to have a binding decision made by an independent arbitrator who is usually chosen by the parties. Because the parties wish to have the dispute resolved they agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. Arbitration is commonly used in commercial and employment disputes but can be used in almost any dispute resolution situation. As with mediation, it is intended to be a less expensive and faster way to have disputes resolved.
If you have questions about the process or are interested in pursuing ADR in some form feel free to call for a consultation.