The nature of your dispute will, to some degree, dictate the means of resolution that are open to you. In terms of law, the disputes that we see arise in the following areas:
It used to be that the sole way of dealing with any of these matters was via litigation. In simple terms, this just means that the matter is decided upon and settled in court. An alternative resolution method in the form of arbitration is also available. In this case, there is a private court hearing and the parties are legally bound by what is decided.
Both of these methods have their pros and cons, but generally speaking, they are likely to be an expensive form of resolution. A relatively new approach to dealing with disputes is via mediation. In this article, we are going to explore the question “What is mediation?” as well as looking at mediation benefits.
What is mediation?
With this being a relatively new form of dispute resolution, the question “What is mediation?” is a common one.
Mediation provides a flexible approach to dealing with disputes which is entirely voluntary and remains confidential. An agreement is reached via a trained mediator who is specially trained.
The mediator is not there to take sides or even to make a decision.
Instead, the role of the mediator is to communicate with both parties. This could be with the parties together or by liaising with them separately. The aim of the communication is to go on and reach a negotiated settlement that all parties are happy with.
One of the key differences between mediation and litigation is that the outcome is not legally binding in its own right. However, the agreement that is settled upon can still be enforced in the same way that any contract can be. The fact that the outcome has been agreed tends to lead to there being little need for any form of enforcement. If attempts at mediation fail then parties are still able to explore arbitration or litigation.
Having answered the question “What is mediation?” it is worth exploring mediation benefits and looking at why this can provide an ideal way of resolving disputes.
Often disputes are difficult to deal with.
In addition to the legal aspect, there are a host of emotions to deal with too.
Litigation is rarely a quick process as the longer that this takes, the more stress people experience. Mediation can be much faster and lead to a resolution that allows the parties to move on in a better state of mind.
Other key mediation benefits include:
A sense of control
Pursuing litigation can be seen as a risky option. There is never any guarantee of what the outcome will be. Regardless of the way that a decision goes, both parties are legally bound to adhere to it. With mediation, on the other hand, there is no guarantee that an agreement will even be reached. However, both parties have a degree of control as for the mediation to be successful they both need to agree. No one is forced to accept an outcome that they are not satisfied with.
With litigation comes the very real risk of publicity. Courts are, to all intents and purposes, public buildings. The press is entitled to attend hearings and they are entitled to report. There are exceptions to this, particularly when it comes to family law where there are often reporting conditions. With mediation, matters are resolved outside of the court process. This means that the process, and the outcome, are completely confidential unless agreed otherwise.
One of the greatest mediation benefits can be found when considering the costs that are involved. Litigation is an expensive process. Resolving a dispute through court will be costly and often the precise costs are unpredictable. In comparison, when looking at mediation, you will find that it is usually a much faster process and that it is substantially cheaper.
Disputes, by their very nature, are extremely stressful. The cause of the dispute is already enough to deal with, but by the time you make the decision to go to court, it is often the case that stress levels begin to increase. Litigation becomes a literal battle with each party keen to persuade a court to rule in their favour. The result of this process tends to lead to relationships that are damaged beyond repair.
Meditation takes a very different approach. It is a communication process that focuses on reaching an agreement. It is not about a legal fight and looking for a win. This softer approach leaves room for relationships to repair.
If you pursue litigation, you will of course have your legal team to guide you through the process. They will be there to advise you on the legalities of a situation and to try and secure the very best outcome for you. This doesn’t mean that litigation is not a lonely process.
With mediation, you benefit from the expertise of the mediator. As a neutral party, the mediator will listen impartially to each party. They will then take the time to discuss issues either in a group setting or with the parties individually. These actions of guiding you through the process lead to a sense of support.
Deciding on the right course of action for you
Hopefully, you have been able to see the mediation benefits that are available. Despite the benefits, the truth is that mediation is not always the correct course of action. This will depend upon your exact circumstances and the nature of your dispute.
The best way to establish the course of action that is most suitable for you is to talk to the experts.
At Aberdein Considine Legal, we have the know-how and the expertise to guide you through the available options.
Get in touch today and see how we can help.