what is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps people in dispute to find a mutually acceptable resolution.
Mediation can be conducted on a face-to-face basis in joint and private meetings, or over the telephone.
why use mediation?
- Mediation gives those involved an opportunity to step back and think about how they could put the situation right. This can mean looking at their own behaviour as well as that of other people.
- Mediation enables participants to come up with their own practical solution which will benefit all sides.
- Mediation allows people to rebuild relationships as they work together to find an agreement. This is different to the legal process, where hostility often remains between parties once the case is over.
- Mediation is often more cost effective and quicker to the user than going to court. It is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations.
- Mediation is also an excellent preventative tool and can be used effectively to stop problems escalating and becoming worse.
What happens if the courts refer the parties to mediation?
Where proceedings have been started and the parties agree to mediation, the judge will stay the proceedings before the court for a period to enable mediation to be conducted. If settlement is reached in mediation, the court will record the settlement and bring the action to a close. If settlement is not reached in mediation the matter will be referred to a judge who will give directions for trial.
What happens in mediation?
Once the parties have agreed to mediation, the mediator arranges to meet them. Before the mediation commences the parties sign an Agreement to Mediate, which deals with important principles such as confidentiality. Working as an impartial and neutral third party, the mediator facilitates a process of joint and private meetings during which the issues in dispute are explored and options for settlement are generated. When agreement is reached the parties draft a settlement agreement, which is signed and becomes legally binding.
Where does the mediation take place?
Ideally, the mediation should take place at a neutral venue. It is helpful if a number of rooms are made available for the mediation: one room for the joint meetings and separate rooms for each of the parties for private meetings with the mediator.
How much does mediation cost?
For commercial and workplace mediation fees look here