What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that aims to help two or more parties reach an agreement. It is relatively informal and overseen by a trained professional known as a mediator. Mediation is known as an effective method to resolve misunderstandings and reach resolutions.
Mediation is entirely voluntary and can be used with many disputes. This could be:
- Family disputes
- Relationship disputes
- Business disputes
- Friendship disputes
The process of mediation is fairly straightforward, and also completely confidential. Information given by each side will be considered confidential unless permission is given to disclose any particulars. A majority of the time, some kind of conclusion can be reached through mediation and both parties involved can then decide if they wish to draw up a formal contract stating the particulars of the agreement made.
The advantages of mediation
There are many ways in which someone can benefit from using mediation, including:
- Being given a chance to express their opinions and feelings on the situation
- Discussing problems in a neutral environment
- Having the opinion of a neutral mediator
- Clarifying matters
- Assessing the best options available
- Less expensive than court fees
Also, if the problem at hand is unresolved through mediation, it may need to be pursued in a court case. By showing the judge that both parties have tried to come to a solution through means other than court, then this will speed up the process of the court case.
There are certain steps to take with mediation. It is down to the mediator to explain these steps in full and ensure that the parties involved are following them in the correct manner. It is said that the best results from mediation are gained by following the steps consecutively. However, if the mediator in charge of the situation feels that it may be advantageous to move back to a step and clarify matters further, then this may also be the best step to take.
The steps taken for mediation are:
Step 1- Initial contact with the first party
This would usually be the person who has contacted the mediator first. They will discuss the issues and the mediator will decide if mediation is the right process to use for the problem.
Step 2- Contact with the second party
The mediator will meet with the second party and go through the same process as with the first party initially in order to make the situation fair.
Step 3- Working on the dispute
Second meetings are arranged separately with both parties. This is mainly to see if there has been any progress on the situation, or if there has been any information missed out.
Step 4-face to face meeting
The parties will meet together in an official mediation meeting. An agreement is signed on the particulars of the meeting before it commences.
Both parties will have the opportunity to express their own opinions to each other. Each party is given the same amount of time to remain equal in fairness. By talking through things in a certain manner, the parties may be able to compromise with each other and reach a level ground.
If the parties involved manage to find some kind of conciliation through mediation, they will be given the chance to draw up an official contract. The contract can state exactly what has been agreed to and must be signed by both sides with the mediator as a witness. There must be some kind of leniency written within the contract in case of a change of circumstances at a later date.
If mediation proves too much, or too daunting alone it is recommended you seek assistance from a mediation solicitor, who can make certain you take the right steps effectively, to secure a positive outcome.