More and more parties are being encouraged to resolve their legal disputes outside of Court. There are many options available to assist – today I am looking at mediation.
Simply, mediation is where a neutral third party – called a mediator – helps the parties to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. It is a structured process in which issues are identified, options assessed, and – often – an agreement negotiated.
So what are the advantages of mediation? Well, it gives parties a lot more control over the way their dispute is dealt with. The parties get to select the mediator, time, date and place and in doing so, they have a lot more say over the tone and style of dispute resolution. Parties can decide if they want to attend mediation with or without their solicitor (receiving preparation assistance instead). It is often a less intimidating and flexible process than a Court hearing.
It is a much speedier option than the Court process. Because of that, it is often a much less expensive process as well – although parties do have to pay the mediator’s expenses.
In mediation, no one can impose an outcome. This can be a tremendous advantage as it usually means the parties feel much more empowered by any agreement reached – and more satisfied with the outcome.
Of course, if an agreement cannot be reached at mediation the parties can explore other dispute resolution options or proceed to Court.
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