Mediation is a flexible dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party, known as a mediator, facilitates negotiations between disputing parties to help them devise their own mutually acceptable solutions. A mediator is trained to encourage open communication and provide facilitative negotiation techniques that will enable disputants to discuss issues, explore alternative paths to resolution, and identify creative solutions that might not be available through traditional complaint proceedings.
Because mediation is less formal than litigation, it is often more prompt, cheaper and more convenient for the parties involved. Additionally, unlike a judge or jury, a mediator is not authorized to make binding decisions and cannot issue orders that affect the disputing parties. A mediator is hired on an hourly basis to guide the discussion of the issues at hand, and a trained mediator will usually have subject-matter expertise in the area of law involving the dispute.
In most cases, disputing parties will come to mediation willing to move toward a solution and ready to work on the underlying circumstances that contributed to the dispute. This willingness to compromise is one of the main reasons why many people find that their disputes settle through mediation rather than by going all the way to trial.
Typically, the disputing parties and their lawyers will meet with the mediator in a joint session. The mediator may then meet with each party and their lawyer in separate caucuses to discuss possible avenues of resolution. The discussions in the private caucuses are confidential and not disclosed to the other parties. what is mediation