What is Mediation?

Updated: Feb 2

Mediation – How It Can Help Resolve A Conflict

With the assistance of a trained third person, both parties discuss their disputes in order to reach a settlement. The third person is called a mediator who assists both parties in the dispute resolution process. Mediation is an alternative process where you and the other party meet with a mediator to resolve your legal issues without any hassle of going to court. It may be a scheduled settlement meeting or an informal meeting among the parties. Whether you have a pending dispute in a court or a dispute which may be filed in court, mediation is a way to resolve a conflict and save money, time, and hassle of going to court.

Remember, a mediator doesn’t make the decision and even such a third person can’t force you or the other party to agree on something. They only help you to understand each other’s position and speak with each other. A mediator aims at helping both parties compromise so they agree on things.

When mediation can be used?

Mediation is not restricted to the pending or filed disputes in court, it can be used at any time. However, this procedure is widely used in many countries to avoid the further cost, time, and hassle of court proceedings. It can be used to help both parties in many settings to finalize contracts. Disputes in personal injury, commercial transactions, construction, labor, divorce, domestic relations, employment, and workers compensation are some situations where mediation can be used. In short, it is helpful in any other matters which do not involve evidentiary issues or complex procedure.

A Step-by-step Guide to Mediation

A mediator acts as a bridge and enabler in a conversation between the parties involved in the conflict. In many conflicts, people are often stuck in arguments. Mediators help them come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide to mediate successfully.

  1. Make the Ground Rules

Establishing the ground rules must be the first thing when it comes to mediation. You need to meet with each participant one by one and determine what they expect from this procedure. Remember, mediation won’t work if any of the parties is not willing to participate. Make both parties agree on some ground rules for the next stage of the process. For example, ask them to come prepared with some solutions or ideas, and avoid interruptions. It is essential to make sure both parties trust you.

  1. Discuss with each party individually

Individual meetings with each party would allow them to share their side of the story with the mediator openly and honestly. As a mediator, make sure to get to the root of the problem using active listening skills and open questions. Determine the underlying cause of the problem. An open discussion with both parties can help you to get a better sense of their state of mind. However, you need to be prepared to encounter a range of strong feelings, including anger, distress, and even wish for revenge.

  1. Arrange a Joint Meeting

Encourage both parties to participate in a joint meeting and express how they feel to one another. Make them express themselves fully without any interruption from the other party. Explore any issue in the meeting and encourage the parties to improve their understanding of one another’s point of view.

  1. Negotiate and Compromise

Once both sides have expressed their feelings, it’s the right time to make them negotiate and compromise. Brainstorm the solutions and look for a win-win negotiation for both parties. Make sure they reach a solution that suits both of them.

  1. Written agreement

During all of the meetings you mediate, make sure to take notes. After both parties have reached a solution, write it as a formal agreement. Help the parties to understand what’s written in the agreement and what will be expected from them in return.

  1. Closure

Share the copies of the written agreement with the parties and bring the mediation to a close. Take every possible step to implement the agreement. Check the parties informally at a later date whether they are on track with their agreement or not.

Benefits of Mediation

Here are some of the benefits of mediation:

Communication

Ineffective or inadequate communication is the root cause of most conflicts. With the help of mediation, both parties can have conversations to work through differences of view in a guided way by an experienced third person, a mediator. Meditation helps restore, enhance and rebuild relationships in many situations, including business partners, contractors, families, and in the workplace.

Confidentiality

Mediation helps the participants to discuss the issues privately with a third party. It makes them not be bound by anything. It gives them the ability to listen to each other’s views and encourages them to get at the same table.

Control

Having control over the outcome is one of the main benefits mediation gives to the parties. Unlike handing it over to lawyers or a judge, both parties can agree on something they are happy with. A mediator only acts as a bridge between them to encourage them to talk and understand each other’s situation.

Cost-saving

Disputes in court can be very expensive. Legal issues filed in court can cost you much more than you expect. On the other hand, mediation is a cost-effective way to resolve a conflict. It takes only a few days or a week to reach an agreement. It is much less expensive than other procedures such as tribunal or court.

Time

The proceedings in the court or other procedures are very time-consuming. These proceedings can take a couple of months or maybe more in case of serious disputes. Mediation makes the dispute resolving process hassle-free and saves time to reach a conclusion.