Dispute resolution is often more challenging than it needs to be.
Mediation is one option for resolving disputes and it may help you.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a dispute resolution process that uses a neutral and independent person (a mediator) to help the parties negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute.
What does mediation involve?
Mediation has four parts:
- The parties who agree to mediation.
- The mediator who is agreed upon by the parties (unless one has been appointed by a court), and who helps the parties maintain their focus on the issues of the dispute.
- The process of mediation, which involves each party providing their own account of the dispute and proposing options for resolution
- The outcome of mediation involves either settling the dispute in full, in part or acknowledging the inability to resolve the dispute.
What are the pros and cons of mediation?
Mediation aims to resolve disputes to the satisfaction of both parties. Knowing the pros and cons of mediation can help you navigate the process and increase the likelihood of reaching a satisfactory outcome.
The pros of mediation include:
Earlier — and often easier — resolution
Once agreed to by both parties, the mediation process can begin at any point, often on short notice, and it can be completed quicker than resolving a dispute in court.
Reduced emotional and financial cost
Resolving a dispute through mediation avoids both the cost of running a trial and the emotional impact of attending court. Following a trial, the unsuccessful party may be ordered to pay the court costs of the successful party. Following mediation, however, each party only pays for their own costs.
Greater flexibility in the process
There’s great flexibility in mediation because it is a less formal process. It’s also possible to resolve a dispute in broader, more practical ways through mediation than is possible through the court.
Higher satisfaction with the outcome
Mediation often leads to a more satisfactory resolution because the process involves the parties working together toward a resolution, rather than having a solution imposed upon them.
Increased likelihood of preserving relationships
Mediation aims to facilitate a process that not only achieves a resolution but also preserves the relationship between the parties. This can be particularly important if the dispute is between family members or business partners.
In contrast to disputes resolved in a courtroom open to the general public and reported in the media, mediation sessions are held in private and their details remain confidential.
A mediated resolution is an agreement between the parties, so generally it cannot be the subject of an appeal, or modified without the agreement of both parties.
The cons of mediation include:
It may not be compulsory
Unless it’s ordered by a court, mediation is not compulsory, which means parties have to agree on mediation.
An unskilled mediator can make matters worse
An unskilled mediator may lead to an escalation of the dispute and a reluctance to attempt mediation even with a skilled mediator.
An uncooperative or uncompromising party
If even one of the parties is unwilling to cooperate or compromise, the mediation may become inefficient or entirely ineffective. If they are very unwilling, the dispute may not be resolved.
Inability to reach agreement
Despite the willingness of the parties to resolve their dispute, it may not be possible to reach an agreement through mediation.
Contact us to find out how mediation can help you
To find out how mediation can help you and your family, contact Seton Family Lawyers to arrange a confidential meeting with our solicitor Dominique Markwort, a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.