What is Mediation?
Mediation is the process in which the parties to a dispute come before a neutral person to attempt to reach a resolution. Mediation is often presented as an alternative to litigation, where the parties fight in court about the dispute. Mediation should be distinguished from arbitration, where the parties engage a neutral person to make a decision about their dispute. A mediator does not decide on a winner, but instead helps the parties reach a compromise.
What are the benefits of mediation?
The alternative to mediation is often litigation or arbitration. These processes are usually very stressful, take a long time to resolve, and can get very expensive very quickly. (Arbitration tends to take less time and be less expensive than litigation but this is not always the case.) In mediation, the parties take control of finding a solution to their dispute that they can live with rather than gambling that a judge will see things 100% their way. Thus, mediation can be a quicker, more cost-effective way to resolve disputes. The parties in mediation can consider options that are not always available to the judge in resolving a litigated dispute. The outcome of mediation is often better in many ways than the possible outcomes of trial.