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MEDIATION

Balancing Rocks

Mediation is an informal and confidential process where a neutral person encourages and facilitates resolving a case without recommending specifically what the outcome should be.

Unlike a judge who decides for the parties how a dispute will ultimately be resolved, a mediator helps the parties reach an agreement that’s acceptable to both parties.

The mediator’s role includes: 

  • Identify the issues between the parties

  • Assess and reviewing the relative strengths and weaknesses of their case

  • Determine common interests 

  • Facilitate joint problem-solving 

  • Present settlement options

  • Finalize a settlement agreement

 

Advantages of mediation

It almost always takes less time to mediate a dispute than it does to try a case.  In mediation, the parties are free to schedule their mediation on their timelines and at their earliest convenience. 

All communications in mediation are confidential, and neither the mediator's work product nor the participants' statements made in mediation about the subject matter can be disclosed later or admitted into evidence if a trial is held.

 

Private sessions between a single party and the mediator are even more confidential, because they aren’t even shared with the other party without permission. The only record of a mediation is the written agreement reached by the parties.

Mediation is an opportunity for parties to resolve their own dispute rather than turning over control of the decision process to the judge. Also, while the judge has to make a decision on the legal evidence following the legal rules applicable to the case, the parties can reach settlement terms tailored to satisfy their own individual interests and needs.  

 

Studies have shown that mediation generally results in a high level of participant satisfaction. People are more likely to accept and follow their own decisions rather than decisions others make for them. Therefore, compared to adjudicated resolutions, mediated agreements are more durable, and the compliance rate is very high.

Once approved and signed by the judge, a mediated agreement may become a judgment or court order with the same legal effect as if the judge decided the case.

Mediation is voluntary and cases are resolved by mediation only if both parties agree. If  the parties can’t resolve their case through mediation, they still have the right to a trial, and the judge will hear and decide the case.

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