Mediation is a step taken in negotiations when the parties cannot come to an agreement. By involving a neutral third party, there is a new way to communicate, allowing for new ideas and solutions to develop. In this article, we look at what mediation is, and how it can help you.
What is mediation?
Mediation is when a neutral third party works with those involved in a dispute to find a solution that is agreed to by everyone, it is an aid to negotiation and prevents an escalation of issues.
The decision reached by a meditator is not binding unless all parties involved decide that it should be. If this decision was to be reached, there would be a document drafted and signed by all involved.
When can mediation be used?
Mediation can be used for various disputes, including those where litigation is not possible or lawyers are not involved. There is unlikely to be an area of law where meditation cannot be of use, but the most common areas it is used in are:
- Contract disputes – from landlords and tenants to construction or employment contract disputes.
- Insolvency and finance – including debt recovery.
- Family disputes – such as issues in a divorce.
- Government and Local authorities – can include health service or education complaints, issues with housing or any other local authority dispute.
- Employment – a common area where mediation is used, often between an employer and employee, or a union and management.
Overall, any disputes between parties that have come to a deadlock in negotiations can be considered for mediation.
Benefits of mediation
Having an impartial and confidential third party explore the options with the parties to seek common ground, can help disputes be solved and can save costly litigation if that is where the case is heading. Below, the most common benefits of mediation are detailed.
Mediation can help you advocate for yourself. By adding a third party to the negotiations, there is a new route of communication, and it becomes easier for you to speak up for what you need or believe should happen. The conversations are confidential and not legally binding allowing for there to be a more detailed discussion.
Mediation can also help prevent relationships from breaking down, as it is not based on a winner takes all system but on finding a happy medium between both parties.
If the alternatives to mediation are litigation or a constant delay on progress, then having the issue come to a close will save all parties time and money. Mediation is more cost-effective than both tribunals and litigation, and any settlements that are agreed to are also often lower.
As the scope of mediation is so broad, the decisions reached can be varied from case to case. The best solution is not always a financial remedy but for there to be a recognition of wrongdoing and steps taken for it to be prevented from happening again, or even for the completion of work to be carried out.
As mediation can be used for various disputes, the options for a solution are also varied.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.