The use and popularity of mediation has grown significantly over the years.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure in which the conflicting parties engage in an informal settlement discussion coordinated by a neutral, impartial mediator to work toward resolving their differences. The goal of mediation is to reach a final resolution of the case, without incurring the significant costs and fees associated with the litigation process and a traditional trial. While mediation is often court-ordered prior to trial, any resolution reached at mediation is voluntary and by mutual agreement.
What Does a Mediator Do?
The parties will typically meet at an agreed date and time at the mediator’s office. The mediator acts as a facilitator between the opposing sides, helping to clarify issues and remove communication barriers, while keeping the process non-confrontational and guided. A good mediator has many years of experience in handling the type of case brought to mediation, as well as knowledge of typical outcomes in similar situations. While a mediator does not give the parties any legal advice during the process, he does bring the benefit of an experienced, neutral third party perspective to the analysis of the issues involved. No final decision regarding the case is ever imposed by the mediator, and the parties always retain the right to have their dispute resolved at the courthouse.
All mediations are confidential and conducted privately, with the full participation of each party’s attorney(s). No recordings or records of the mediation process are made, unless a mutually agreed settlement is reached.
During mediation, the opposing parties are rarely in the same room. The mediator will utilize private caucuses during the process, and the mediator is typically the person to shuttle back and forth between the parties’ private rooms. The mediator will use these conversations to establish an agenda, define the issues, and present each party’s positions and concerns. From there, offers and counter-offers are negotiated to either an impasse or a mutual agreement. If an agreement is reached by the parties (with the advice of their respective attorneys), that agreement is reduced to writing and signed by all parties and attorneys before the mediation is concluded. Thereafter, such an agreement is fully binding on the parties, and, except in very rare circumstances, will be enforced and implemented by the Court.
For more information on our Mediation services – contact us.