In mediation, a third-party neutral (mediator) assembles the disputing parties, encourages dialogue, provides guidance, and helps define areas of agreement and disagreement, but does not impose a settlement. The mediator, through discussions with both sides, attempts to facilitate a negotiated solution by having each party recognize its true needs as well as those of the other parties. Mediation seeks a settlement through enabling parties to see their dispute from the perspective of their “interests” rather than their “rights” or “positions.”
Unlike traditional adjudication, mediation is not premised on a “winner-take-all” approach, but instead presupposes that parties will realistically assess their positions and cooperate in reaching a solution.
The mediation process brings disputing parties together to resolve their conflicts in a structured yet informal process. A typical mediation session lasts from one to two hours. Mediation has been especially effective in resolving disputes in areas such as labor-management, neighborhood conflicts, parent-teen disputes, separation/divorce and personal injury cases, consumer-merchant conflicts, landlord-tenant relations, and small claims and contractual disputes as well as workplace disputes and medical malpractice concerns.
The focus of mediation is to explore the potential for change in the behaviors and attitudes that have led to conflict, a confusion of roles and expectations, and a breakdown in communication. The goal is for the parties to create a consensually written agreement that each party feels is fair, balanced, realistic, and accurately reflects the issues raised and addressed in the mediation.
Mediation is not litigation. It does not determine who is right or wrong. All points of view are considered valid.
Mediation is not counseling. Mediation recognizes the emotional issues in a conflict, but it focuses on finding a workable solution to the problems, rather than the cause of the problem.
Mediation . . .
- is a voluntary process.
- is not adversarial and not coercive in nature.
- is confidential.
- allows the outcome to be determined by the parties involved in the dispute