Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation is basically a formal negotiation facilitated by an unbiased third-party called a mediator. Unlike arbitration, mediation doesn’t result in decision making by the mediator. Mediation and other ADR procedures are mutually decided by the parties or in some cases, obligated by contractual terms.

Why should I choose mediation?

When parties are unable to resolve a dispute on their own, it becomes a great option in the event they want to avoid a costly and lengthy court hearing.

During the process, the disputing parties work with the mediator to try to resolve their disputes. The mediator assists in achieving a resolution by overseeing the exchange of information and initiating the bargaining process. They also assist in finding a common ground that is mutually beneficial to each party involved. He or she may also suggest solutions to problems and assist in drafting a final settlement. It is their job to hear concerns, adequately relay information between both parties, and assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable decision.

When should I consider mediation?

Mediation is generally a voluntary process selected by parties to a lawsuit who wish to avoid a lengthy and costly trial. Mediation is a common practice in civil cases.

Unlike the litigation process, where a judge makes a final ruling on a matter, the parties and the mediator maintain control over the process. They decide when and where the mediation will take place, who will be involved, how it is paid for, and who the mediator is.

What happens after mediation?

If a resolution is reached, the parties will receive a mediation agreement. Some mediators may conduct their practices so that the agreements are binding. But most of the time when people go to mediation voluntarily, the document drafted is a Memorandum of Understanding and it specifically states that it is not a legally binding document. Generally, the terms of the Memorandum become legally binding only after they are either adopted or transposed into a separate document. Your legal counsel will then take the necessary steps to transform the Memorandum into a legally binding document.

If no agreement is reached, you can either go to trial, repeat the process, or continue on in the negotiations process.

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