Mediation – A Cost-Effective Alternative to Litigation

A mediator should be able to persuade the parties to explore their problems fully in order to generate settlement options. This requires a degree of empathy and a skillful use of distraction techniques.

Mediation is a process that can save time, money, and preserve relationships. However, it is important to remember that mediation does not guarantee a resolution.
It is less expensive

Compared to the cost of traditional litigation, mediation is an alternative that can save disputants time and money. The process also allows disputants to reach their own solutions to their dispute, rather than relying on an outside decision-maker. Moreover, mediation often encourages conflict-resolution skills that disputants can apply in other situations, preventing future disputes.

The mediator facilitates discussion between the disputants, using a variety of techniques to promote productive conversation and enhance communication. Mediators also assist disputants in identifying their interests and concerns, and incorporating those areas into solutions devised by the parties themselves.

Mediation sessions are held in private and confidential, unless required by law. The process can take as long as a court case, but generally produces results much faster than a formal trial. Moreover, the outcomes of a mediated settlement are usually more satisfying than those imposed by a judge. It is important to note, however, that the mediator does not make any decisions regarding the outcome of a case.
It is less stressful

Mediation is generally less costly, less time-consuming, and less stressful than going to trial. It also encourages cooperation between disputants and may lead to more creative solutions. In addition, mediated agreements are more likely to be upheld by courts than litigated agreements.

The initial mediation session will usually begin with an introduction from the mediator, followed by an opportunity for each party to express their concerns. Some mediations include opening remarks from the lawyers representing each side. However, participants are encouraged to participate on their own as well. In addition, it is common for writing pads to be provided.

Unlike court hearings, mediation is private and confidential. The details of a dispute are not made public, and most mediators destroy the notes they take during sessions. This privacy and confidentiality reduces stress for both parties. Mediation is often conducted in a relaxed environment, and you can even choose the location for your sessions. However, you should be aware that emotional issues can interfere with the mediation process.
It is less time consuming

Mediation can be considerably quicker than litigation and a trial. It can also cost far less, both in dollars and stress. In addition, it can be conducted in a less-expensive venue, such as a conference room or private home. Unlike a trial, which often involves lengthy court proceedings and complicated discovery, mediations typically involve short sessions that are conducted over a few hours.

The mediator’s goal is to help disputants identify and discuss their needs and interests, as well as possible solutions. The mediator can also ask questions and meet separately with each party to clarify their position. Nevertheless, the mediator’s decision-making power is limited and she cannot force either side to accept a resolution that they do not like.

Mediators are required to abide by a code of conduct that emphasizes “client-directed” solutions. The code of conduct requires that mediators remain impartial, unbiased and neutral in all cases. Moreover, mediators must be prepared to take a back seat to the decision-making process if it is determined that their position is no longer viable.
It is more effective

Mediation is less expensive, takes a shorter time to resolve disputes, and often results in higher satisfaction rates. It also preserves relationships and allows disputants to come up with custom solutions that suit their needs.

A key difference between mediation and therapy is that therapy addresses underlying mental health issues and tends to be focused on the future, helping people develop skills to mitigate their problems. On the other hand, mediation is more like a conversation between disputants and the mediator and, with few limited exceptions, remains confidential.

Unlike judges and arbitrators, mediators are neutral facilitators who manage the process, facilitating discussions between parties and managing interaction with the help of specialized communication techniques. They serve an evaluative role in their analysis of issues and relevant norms (“reality-testing”), but do not provide prescriptive advice (e.g., “You should settle this case”). They are also free to terminate mediation if they believe the process is not working.

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