Mediation can be defined as “a confidential process in which individuals meet with a neutral party in an attempt to resolve disputed issues with the objective of reaching a mutually agreeable, workable solution.”
This alternative form of dispute resolution offers many benefits:
Unless court ordered, mediation is voluntary. Litigation is voluntary for the Plaintiff only and mandatory for the Defendant.
Parties have control of the outcome and all decisions made. With litigation, a Judge or Jury makes a binding decision, and parties lose all control over the final outcome.
Informal and Less Intimidating
Mediation is less formal than litigation. It is an informal process which can be adapted to meet the needs of the individuals involved in the dispute.
Private Rather Than Public
Mediation is confidential and private. Litigation proceedings are usually open to the public.
Mediation is much less expensive than litigation.
Mediation saves time and is not drawn out as litigation might be. It may take as long as a year just to get a court date, and multiple years if a case is appealed. When parties want to get on with their lives and move past the dispute, mediation can be a desirable as a means of producing rapid results.
Preservation of Relationships
Mediation can help preserve relationships. Many disputes occur in the context of relationships that will continue over future years. A mediated settlement that addresses all parties’ interest can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making procedure such as litigation. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable.