Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution – in other words it is a way of resolving conflict and disputes without going through courts, employment tribunals or other legal or judicial processes.
It has the advantage of being completely voluntary and confidential and it gives both parties the opportunity to fully express their views. When people are in a dispute, communication between them can be extremely difficult and often breaks down. A trained and professional mediator (who does not take sides or make judgements) can provide a safe space where both parties can be facilitated to discuss the issues that are important, come to mutually agreeable terms and focus on a conflict free future.
The parties themselves ‘own’ the process and retain the right to walk away at any time. Parties in dispute who use mediation are still fully entitled to their legal rights if mediation doesn’t work out. However, it has been shown to work successfully in 80% of cases. It is quick, inexpensive compared to legal proceedings and leaves the parties holding the power to find their own resolution, rather than having a decision imposed on them by a court or tribunal.
Where parties reach agreement a written Agreement can be drawn up in the words the parties agree. If required, the Agreement can be given legal standing (as often in the case of a marital separation agreement or form the basis of a consent divorce application).
Mediation can be used in many scenarios, such as:
- separating or divorcing couples
- family conflict such as parent/teenager conflict or disputes over how best to care for an ageing or sick parent or relative
- workplace disputes and grievances
- commercial disputes
- neighbours disputes such as property boundaries, noise etc.
Mediation is an effective way for people to air their issues and concerns with the other party and to hear the complaints, needs and concerns allowing for resolution.
The content of the mediation is confidential to the parties and the mediator and can only be shared with a third party with the express permission of all parties. The parties and the Mediator agree the terms of the mediation at the outset of the mediation with the parties owning the process.