Mediation is a well-established process designed to resolve disputes. It is the most popular form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The mediation process is informal; a mediator, who is entirely independent and neutral, acts as a facilitator to help the parties achieve an amicable resolution that is legally binding.
Court proceedings entail substantial legal costs with no certainty of achieving a favourable outcome. When giving evidence in court, a party can often feel intimidated by the process. Unlike court proceedings, mediations are:
Mediation is not a substitute for court proceedings. The parties are not obliged to reach a settlement, so any party who is not willing to accept terms offered at a mediation has the right to pursue court proceedings.
Everything that is said at a mediation is “off-the-record”, that is, without prejudice, and cannot be referred to in any legal proceedings. The terms of settlement can, if the parties wish, remain confidential.
NO-ONE IS ON TRIAL
No-one gives evidence and no-one is cross-examined. The mediator does not decide the outcome – the mediator only helps the parties achieve a settlement. The parties remain in control throughout the process. A mediation saves time and therefore costly legal fees. The case studies on this website are examples of the sorts of disputes where mediation has resulted in a successful resolution.
This can be a traditional mediation where the parties meet in person or an on line mediation where the parties meet on screen. It takes place at the convenience of the parties (not of the court) and can be arranged at short notice.
The mediator is a neutral person who actively assists the parties to work toward a negotiated agreement. The mediation takes place by agreement and the parties can leave at any time, unlike court proceedings the parties retain control throughout the process.
Although there are options for shorter sessions most mediations take a full day (8 hours) the parties start and end in the same room (for introductions and a settlement at the end) but generally the remainder of the day is taken up with private meetings between the mediator and each party in turn.
The mediator is skilled at breaking deadlock, assisting parties to move past the emotional part of a dispute and concentrate on what they really want to achieve. The majority of mediations end with a settlement that avoids a court appearance; though even if a settlement is not agreed mediation is seldom a wasted endeavour as it often significantly narrows the issues in a dispute.
When should I mediate?
Mediation can take place at any stage of a dispute, in simple terms the earlier parties engage in mediation the better. There is a balance to be struck between starting too early and knowing enough about the case to hold a meaningful mediation session.
However, the earlier a meaningful mediation session can be held the greater the chance of successfully reaching an agreement which avoids going to court. Some of the other benefits of mediating a dispute earlier in proceedings are: greater cost savings; faster resolution; and greater chance of maintaining a relationship with the other party.
contact one of our experienced mediators now on 01772 972591 or Mybusiness@nineteenlegal.co.uk