Increasingly, parties in hotly contested legal disputes are turning to mediation as a less adversarial, and frequently more efficient and less expensive, way of settling their differences. Mediation is a non-binding process of negotiation in which a neutral person acts as a facilitator and honest broker, giving both sides a chance to resolve even the most complex problems in a confidential setting. It often results in a more creative and satisfying resolution than could be obtained either in trial or arbitration.
The Parties Find Their Own Solution
Mediation is based on the principle of self-determination; the parties alone have the power to achieve a resolution that best serves their interests. The agreement they devise is usually better and more advantageous than having an uncertain outcome imposed by a judge or jury.
It Costs Less and Takes Less Time, Yielding Greater Client Satisfaction
In the vast majority of cases, mediation costs less money and takes less time than litigation. Not surprisingly, compliance with mediated agreements is extremely high because the parties have actually chosen the resolution themselves (Christopher W. Moore, The Mediation Process, Third Edition, at p. 351). For these reasons, mediation promotes greater client satisfaction – - both with the process of resolving disputes and the outcome achieved.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Confidential discussions allow participants to speak candidly and avoid public disclosure of sensitive information. In separate caucus sessions, each party can safely explore settlement options with the mediator, without the fear of appearing weak to the other side.
A Realistic Assessment of Each Case
With the active participation of legal counsel, the costs and risks of going to trial are soberly and objectively analyzed, prompting the parties to take a more realistic view of the strengths and weaknesses of their case. This, in turn, leads parties to more accurately weigh various settlement options, and make the most informed decision about how to proceed.
How Are The Solutions Reached?
Parties in mediation are encouraged to step into the shoes of the other side to consider their point of view, rather than being indifferent or dismissive, as often happens in contentious cases. This can be an essential part of restoring personal and business relationships that have been ruptured by conflict. Thus, mediation is widely used in settling workplace disputes, commercial contract disputes, and franchise disputes. It’s also why mediation can be used to end relationships at minimum financial and psychological costs.