What is Mediation?
Mediation is a facilitated negotiation designed to help parties in dispute come to a mutually acceptable settlement. It is a flexible and entirely voluntary process. Although mediation may be seen as part of the litigation process it can in fact take place at any stage in a dispute, from the very first inkling that there is a dispute right up to the days immediately before a trial.
When a settlement is reached the terms are written up in a settlement agreement and signed by the parties. This agreement is then binding.
Mediation is entirely private and can help to avoid unwelcome publicity. A settlement reached through mediation does not set a precedent for similar disputes in the future.
In the context of the overall cost of resolving a dispute by going to trial, mediation is by far one of the most cost effective routes available.
Secure Mediation offer the services of an experienced commercial mediator cost effectively and proportionately.
The terms upon which the mediation will take place are set out in a mediation agreement which is signed by all those present before the mediation starts. Anything that happens at mediation is without prejudice, which means that information disclosed cannot be used at trial. Meetings are confidential. The mediator will not disclose anything said to him to another party without permission.
The process works because the parties have trust in the mediator. The skill of the mediator comes in building confidence in the parties, getting them to engage in the process, perhaps getting them to look at their dispute from a new perspective, and getting them to explore options for settlement.
It is usual for the mediator to start the process of building confidence before the day of the mediation by talking to the parties’ representatives. On the day the mediator will spend some time with each party before bringing everyone together for a joint session, if that seems appropriate. The mediator will keep the joint session going as long as it seems useful, otherwise he will work with the parties separately in their private rooms.
Disputes are often related to money. Settlements are achieved though when the parties can re-examine their relationship, often face-to-face, and sometimes a solution emerges that is perhaps not what the parties would have expected at the start of the day. It is also possible for the parties to find a solution that would not be available to the trial judge were the case to be decided in court.