How can mediation help me?
In a nutshell, mediation is the process in which parties work with a neutral facilitator to isolate an issue, develop options and consider alternatives to best accommodate their needs.
The mediator does not make decisions for the parties. The mediator helps the parties to negotiate so they can reach their own agreement. There are very few disputes that cannot be mediated and using this process can avoid the time-consuming and costly process of litigation.
What can be mediated?
- Civil disputes
- Resource management cases
- Family issues: child custody and access arrangements, relationship property and similar disputes
- Business plans – where parties appear to be heading in different directions
- Neighbourhood and community issues
- Civil disputes including contractual issues, leases, partnership or joint venture issues, employment and building disputes.
- Mediation works. Mosts cases settle.
- It is quicker than other forms of dispute resolution. Once the parties have agreed to mediate, a date can be set quite quickly. Except in complex cases, mediation meetings should only take a day. Compare that with litigation which, because of its case management structure and formal processes can take an inordinate amount of time – sometimes years.
- Mediation is significantly less expensive than adjudication processes (such as arbitration and litigation).
- Parties control the outcome. They make the decision. The mediator does not make a decision for them.
- Mediation is confidential. Parties can make concessions as part of negotiation and know that no evidence can be given of those concessions if the matter fails to settle and the parties end up in court. The parties can decide that the whole settlement is confidential. There is no negative publicity.
- Conflict can be stressful. Traditional litigation is adversarial in nature. This means that the conflict becomes a battleground where both parties want to win. Winning may however result in a pyrrhic victory. It may destroy relationships.
- At mediation, parties have their say. They get the chance to tell their story in a safe environment. Many disputes are settled simply because parties get to understand the viewpoints of the other.
- Mediation focuses on the real needs of the parties. Litigation focuses on legal rights. Mediation allows parties to design a solution that meets their own needs. Such a solution may not necessarily be available to a judge or arbitrator. Parties to mediation can think outside the square and come up with solutions that preserve ongoing relationships.
Find out more about mediation and how it may help you, please call our office to make an appointment.