In mediation parties to a dispute meet with a neutral person (the mediator) who assists in their efforts to reach a resolution. It is the mediator's job to listen to each party's viewpoint regarding the dispute, help them understand each other's viewpoint, and then facilitate the negotiation of a voluntary resolution to the situation. The purpose of mediation is to avoid the time and expense of litigation by settling a dispute early on in the process.
The mediator’s role is not to reach a decision – it is to help the parties reach their own decision. There is no guarantee that mediation will produce a settlement agreement resolving the dispute. However, when mediation is successful, it can save time, expense, and go a long ways towards mending relationships..
Appropriate Cases for Mediation
Nearly any type of case can be mediated, but the best cases are those in which the parties are unlikely to reach a settlement agreement on their own. Common types of disputes that end up in mediation include breach of contract disputes, personal injury and negligence cases, SGI matters, wrongful termination claims, family law matters, estate disputes, and more. Cases that are not appropriate for mediation include DUI and criminal charges, bankruptcy, deportation and related immigration matters, disability appeals, and any other types of cases prosecuted by the government.
What to Expect During Mediation
Mediation itself is a rather informal proceeding. First, the parties (with or without their own individual lawyers) will meet together with the mediator, usually at the mediator’s office. Initially the mediator will visit with each side individually and will offer her observations, and the parties can respond by sharing information with the mediator in confidence, or with instructions to pass certain information on to the other side. The parties will then meet in a joint session during which the mediator will lead and facilitate the discussion in an effort to assist the parties in reaching a resolution. Some mediations only require one meeting but it is more likely that there will be a series of meetings with the desired end result of the implementation of a plan set out in a written agreement..
Further information about mediation: