Mediation involves settling disputes out of court with the assistance of an impartial third party (known as the mediator). The mediator facilitates this process by encouraging communication and guiding the negotiations.
Mediation, as an alternative, has become a popular option for people who would rather avoid legal proceedings but are unable to come to a compromise on their own. Some of the benefits of this process include:
The primary reason that many groups are attracted to mediation is its affordability as compared to legal proceedings. Getting the courts involved can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the case. Both sides are encouraged to invest in legal representation to enhance their chances of winning when dealing with a judicial process. In prolonged disputes, the final bill can potentially soar to staggering amounts.
Mediation doesn’t require the presence of any lawyers and generally takes a shorter time to settle. The final decision can be made official by signing legal contracts that entail the details of the resolution.
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Unless agreed otherwise, mediation processes are confidential and only privy to the parties involved. Mediators aren’t allowed to disclose any information revealed during negotiation, and sessions are not recorded in any manner. The proceedings that take place at a mediation meeting remain private during and after the procedure.
In cases where parties are unable to reach a compromise, the mediation proceedings cannot be disclosed in court. This confidentiality is a vital element, as it ensures that both parties can start the legal proceedings on equal footing.
Protecting Existing Relationships
Court cases can become quite ugly when the dispute is of a personal nature, leaving both parties with a bad taste in their mouth. The loser will feel aggrieved by the decision, while the winner will have severed their relationship with the opposition. In some cases, the damage done could be so extreme that it becomes practically impossible to mend fences.
Mediation primarily involves reaching a compromise that suits all the sides concerned. Each party will be required to sacrifice something to meet the other halfway. Because of this accommodation, the results of mediation processes don’t have any clear winners or losers. The people concerned can leave the table with no hard feelings, as they wouldn’t have been forced into a resolution.
Greater Control of the Proceedings
The decision arrived at during mediation is not final and can be disputed if one side feels unsatisfied with the results. Issues such as time and place can also be chosen with greater flexibility, with sides enjoying more freedom in how they approach negotiations. The mediation process can also be halted at any given time by one of the aggrieved parties should they feel like the discussion is going nowhere.
Decisions made in court, on the other hand, are left to the presiding judge. Simply put, what the judge says goes. The parties will be expected to show up according to the court’s schedule and abide by any ruling decided. Disputes against the final verdict will require additional cases to address, involving more time and increased expenses.
The primary objective of mediation is to reach a conclusion that satisfies all sides and preserves the relationship between the aggrieved groups. However, the main aim of a court is to reach a ruling that is considered just, no matter the feelings and opinions of those involved. Mediation offers greater support when it comes to encouraging communication and negotiation.