Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which an independent person, known as a mediator, assists the parties to identify and assess options and negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute. Mediation is an alternative to a judge imposing a decision on the parties.
What cases are suitable for mediation?
All cases, regardless of their complexity or number of parties, are eligible to be referred to mediation. Some factors about your dispute may indicate that it is particularly suited to mediation, such as:
Mediation offers many benefits over a trial by a judge, including:
Time: ordinarily a dispute can be resolved more quickly through mediation than through a trial.
Cost: if a dispute can be resolved through mediation, the costs of preparing and running a trial can be avoided. Additionally, after a trial the unsuccessful party may be ordered to pay the legal costs of the successful party.
Flexibility: mediation offers parties more control over the outcome. A mediation process which is customised to your needs can be arranged with the mediator.
Stress: mediation is less formal and less intimidating than appearing in court.
Confidentiality: mediation is private. The judge is not informed of the contents of the mediation. It is also usually unable to be used against a party if the case goes to trial. (The Court recommends you discuss mediation confidentiality with your lawyer).
Satisfaction: because the parties decide and agree on the outcome of their dispute they are more likely to be satisfied with the result and to comply with what has been agreed.
Finality: settlement agreements can usually only be modified with the agreement of all parties.