WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Successful mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution and has the following elements:
- An impartial third-party facilitator
A neutral facilitator is one whom the parties can trust and feel safe with. Mediation works because the mediator is known to be neutral and an un-involved party.
- A facilitator protects the integrity of the proceedings
Usually this means that the facilitator or mediator protects the confidentiality of the proceedings. The mediator does not take sides against any party to the mediation. Nor does the mediator usurp the parties' rights to disclose, or not disclose, information. It is the job of the mediator to preserve the integrity of the proceedings. Confidentiality also means that the facilitator is not subject to subpoena and thus cannot be made a witness.
- Participants who want to work toward resolution
Participants need to enter into the ADR method with the intention of working toward a resolution. In a mediation, the parties are in the process of seeking solutions rather than for ulterior purposes or motives (e.g. to abuse the other party through use of the process). Both the behavior and integrity of the neutral are important in creating, and preserving good faith.
- Parties who have authority to settle the issue
Those with full authority to act on behalf of the parties must attend so that the parties can work toward resolution. If the decision makers do not attend, the process becomes something other than mediation.
- An appropriate site or venue
Generally this means a neutral site that is conducive to the process. It must mean a place where neutrality, confidentiality and inclusiveness can be obtained. The place is some times as important as the people, and is a part of the process that is often overlooked.
ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION
MEDIATION is quick. A mediation session may be scheduled soon after the issues arise or as soon as the parties agree to mediate.
MEDIATION gives each party a chance to be heard and give his or her side of the story. After listening to the concerns of the other side work toward resolution can begin.
MEDIATION can help the parties put the dispute behind them quickly.
- The parties can sign a Voluntary Agreement at the mediation session which resolves the case to their mutual satisfaction.
- The parties can also decide to privately resolve the matter between themselves.