Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party, the mediator, facilitates discussions between disputing parties with the goal of helping them devise their own mutually acceptable solutions to the dispute. The mediator may ask questions, reframe issues, assist participants to understand one another, and help the parties identify possible solutions but the mediator does not take sides, make decisions for the parties, offer legal advice or reveal confidences. Mediators often have subject-matter expertise in the areas of controversy and may provide valuable insights.
Unlike litigation, mediation is informal and less expensive. In addition, mediation sessions are usually held in a private setting and are closed to the public and media. Moreover, mediation sessions can be conducted over the course of a few hours or even days in comparison to years that might pass before a case is resolved by court trial.
The primary advantage of mediation is that the outcome of the dispute will be determined by the people involved in the dispute and not a judge or jury. This allows individuals to make their own choices when making complex tradeoffs and to create their own solution rather than have one imposed by a judge or jury.
People in a dispute typically are ready to work together on a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute and are more willing than they might be at a trial to compromise. This can lead to a more productive and cost-effective result. what is mediation