What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party called a mediator helps disputing parties to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement of their dispute. The mediator assists the parties to identify their needs and interests and utilizes creative problem solving techniques to help them reach their own agreement. Unlike a court, the mediator does not impose a solution on the parties. If the parties cannot agree on an acceptable result, the dispute remains unresolved.
Mediation gives the parties greater control over the way their dispute is dealt with as well as over the outcome. It provides an alternative to pursuing litigation and offers a wider scope for solutions than the remedies that would be available in court. The objective is for both sides to reach a solution that is acceptable to them.
- Advantages of Mediation
Affordable – Mediation costs considerably less than litigation. Fees are shared equally between the parties and are usually fixed so that everyone is clear at the outset what it will cost. This sharing of costs creates a level playing field by giving both parties an incentive to move forward to a positive outcome.
Efficient – The mediation process can settle a dispute in a single session and even where more than one session is required the mediation is likely to conclude within 30 days from initiating the process.
Collaborative – Disputing parties are directly engaged in the negotiation of their settlement. In this way they avoid the uncertainty and dissatisfaction that is often experienced in court where they have little choice but to accept the decision even though they may not be happy with it. Mediation also offers the chance for the parties to come up with more creative solutions to their problems than what a court may be able to offer.
Confidential – Information disclosed during the mediation may not be disclosed or given as evidence in any court proceedings. Everything said at the mediation is entirely confidential. The process is ‘without prejudice’ so that in the event that a settlement is not reached and the matter goes on to litigation, the parties will not have to worry about having “given away” anything that the other side could use in court.
Private – Unlike the publicity of court proceedings mediation sessions are held in private. Only the parties and their legal representatives are in attendance. There is no recording of the proceedings and the information shared by or between the parties will not be divulged to anyone. In some cases where a settlement is reached the court or other referring body will be notified of the agreement.
Voluntary – Mediation is voluntary. Any party may withdraw at any time and nothing is binding on any of the parties unless an agreement is reached. Once a settlement has been drawn up and signed it then becomes an enforceable contract between the parties.
- How much will it cost?
Our mediation rates are based on the value of the claim and the duration of the mediation session and include an allowance for preparation time, administrative charges and refreshments. There is no fixed or standard duration for mediation; some will take a few hours while others will be longer. Additional information on the actual rates is available on our Fees page.