Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which disputing parties reach an agreement on their own. There is a neutral third party called the mediator, guiding the entire process. But the conditions of settlement are reached by the parties on their own. The mediator is impartial and only facilitates the process and does not have the power to impose decisions upon the parties.
Mediators use techniques to improve communication between the parties which in turn helps the parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement. The advantages of mediation over judicial proceedings and other forms of ADR are:
- Less expensive: Judicial proceedings are time consuming and attorney fees that the parties have to pay are considerably high. A mediator usually charges a comparably low fee and takes less time to conclude the process of mediation.
- Confidential: The process of mediation is confidential compared to court proceedings that are open to public. The facts are open only to the parties to the dispute and the mediator.
- Flexible solutions: A mediator can offer various solutions for the parties to choose from. There is no hard and fast decision that is thrust upon the parties. They can choose the solution that is bets for both of them. The result will leave neither party to the dispute dissatisfied. More importantly, the mediated agreement is also enforceable in a court.
- Willingness to resolve: parties approaching mediation come with a mind to resolve the dispute and to move from their respective positions. However, in court proceedings, parties generally work against each other and not with each other to arrive at a solution. The parties maintain good relationship with each other after the mediation proceedings come to an end.
- Trained Third Party: Mediators are well trained in resolving conflicts. They are accustomed to seeing complicated situations and their knowledge and experience helps parties think of solutions to the dispute.