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What is Mediation?

Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors
Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors
What is Mediation?

Rose Laffan explains what mediation is and the benefits of mediation.

Lorraine: “Today, I’m in the studio with Rose Laffan from Mullane and Lindsay Solicitors, Newcastle. Hi Rose and welcome.”

Rose: “Hi, thanks for having me.”

Lorraine: “Today, we’re asking, what is mediation? I’ve been hearing lots about mediation, what does it mean to go to mediation?”

Rose: “Mediation is a structured negotiation process, in which an independent person known as the mediator assists the parties to identify and assess the options and negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute. Mediation is essentially an alternative to going to court.”       

Lorraine: “And what are the benefits of mediation?”

Rose: “There are lots of benefits of mediation, there is time, its usually much quicker to resolve your dispute through mediation then to go through the court process. There’s costs, if a dispute can be resolved through mediation then the costs of preparing and going off to a trial can be avoided. Additionally, after a trial, the unsuccessful party may be required to pay the successful parties costs, so that can also be avoided. There’s also flexibility, mediation offers parties more control over their outcome, a mediation process is customized to the parties needs and arranged with the mediator. There’s also stress, mediation is a lot more informal, a lot less stressful then going to court, a lot less intimidating. And finally, there’s confidentiality, the whole mediation process is private so there’s no sitting in a court room talking about your family and circumstances. In mediation, its private and the mediator is unable to talk about anything you talk about to anyone else.”

Lorraine: “And what happens during mediation?”

Rose: “Before the mediation commences, the mediator will meet with both parties individually, its called an intake session. Part of that process is so the mediator can get to know the parties and to take into account their particular needs and what they want to achieve from the mediation. The mediation itself will commence with an explanation of the process followed by a discussion about the background of the issues and the dispute. The mediation itself is flexible and can be tailored to the circumstances of the parties. Mediators may assist negotiations by asking questions, encouraging open discussions, offering different perspectives and expressing issues in alternate ways that the parties may not have thought of. Parties may be encouraged to identify and test out the consequences of what they are talking about, it is common for the mediator to meet with the parties jointly and separately throughout the mediation and further mediation sessions can be organised if necessary.”

Lorraine: “Is the decision made at mediation final?”

Rose: “If the parties are able to reach an agreement it can be finalised. What the parties do is they formalise the agreement reached, initially through their solicitors, if there is no court proceedings on foot, it can be done by entering into consent orders. If there are court proceedings on foot, the parties will normally notify the court the case if not going to proceed and the court case can then be closed.”

Lorraine: “So, what happens if mediation doesn’t resolve a matter?”

Rose: “If the matter is not fully settled, there will then need to be consideration given to what needs to happen to prepare for court proceedings to be commenced or for them to continue to final hearing. I will say usually a mediation, even if the matter doesn’t settle overall, the parties have usually narrowed the issues in the dispute so there is still progress made.”

Lorraine: “Thanks for all that information today, Rose, about mediation. Also, a big thank you to Mullane and Lindsay Solicitors, Newcastle and Tea Gardens.”

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