Mediation is a structured dispute resolution process where an impartial third party, the Mediator, meets with disputants in an effort to identify the issues, explore options and clarify goals, outside of a court environment. The Mediator facilitates face-to-face meetings of the parties to assist them in reaching a mutually-acceptable agreement. Parties reach agreement freely, voluntarily and on the basis of informed consent. Mediation is assisted negotiation, and as the “process expert,” the Mediator helps the parties negotiate efficiently and effectively.
Mediators, unlike Judges, do not decide cases or impose settlements. The Mediator’s Role is to help the parties involved in a dispute to communicate and negotiate with each other, in a constructive manner, to gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and to find a resolution based on common understanding and mutual agreement in strict confidence. Mediation is becoming very popular as a means of resolving disputes, since it is invariably less confrontational, is often simpler and thus cheaper and has the added benefit of being able to be decided by whatever means the parties to the mediation agree between them.