Unlike Arbitration, mediation involves the parties arriving at their own negotiated settlement – with a mediator guiding the process.
Why use mediation? Savings in cost and time are the dominant reasons, but there are other significant reasons, such as:
- preservation of business relationships by a focus on the issues rather than the personalities
- arrangements may be made quickly and adapted to any setting
- a mediated meeting usually takes less than one day
- the process is simple and quick to set up
- the meeting is confidential and private from the public and competitors
- costs are minimal compared to other options
- mediation is voluntary
- the parties make all the decisions about a mutual solution
- mediation is readily adaptable to disputes among many parties
- the information shared is agreed to be used for this process only and not in another proceeding
- high level of satisfaction, as parties get to the core of the dispute
- typically a 75 % rate of resolution
- the mutuality on the decision provides an incentive for all parties to complete the agreed-to solution
- other process options are available if the issues are not resolved
How does mediation work?
- A prospective mediator is asked about his/her background, training and experience in mediation and also in the area of dispute. A list of references provided by the mediator may assist in narrowing down the final choice of mediator.
- In all cases, the parties must assure themselves that the individual chosen as mediator has the right qualification and skill.
- Mediation can be conducted with either one or a number of mediators.
- Once a suitable candidate is chosen the matter of fees, timing and any specific procedure is discussed. Generally, an Agreement to Mediate, is drawn up and signed by each of the parties and mediator prior to the mediation.
- Often a case builder will have the resources to assist you to make the initial decisions and ensure competence, experience and that proper documentation is in place. MAAOC provides this service, i.e., guidance and information to select mutually agreed mediator and to help get all parties to the table with clarity of purpose and expectations.
- At the mediation the issues in dispute are listed, and the parties move forward with the assistance of the mediator. A key element is the mediator helping the parties to uncover information and solutions that will be to the maximum benefit of all parties.
Mediation is the most frequently used form of ADR, though it may be used in conjunction with other forms of ADR.