Mediation is an alternative way to resolving disputes. It is an assisted negotiation process that aims to assist disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their dispute.
How does mediation works?
The process usually takes place at the mediator’s office. The mediator begins by introducing the disputing parties and then holds a joint session where he gives some general instructions. Then the defendant’s attorney will give a brief opening statement, followed by the Plaintiff’s attorney. Thereafter, the parties and their respective attorneys will break into separate rooms. At intervals, the mediator will visit each group with the aim to get both sides migrate toward a settlement. He will ask the Plaintiff and also convince the Defendant to make some sort of resolution claims and settlement offer respectively. And if a settlement is reached, the mediator will then draft a short settlement memo and ask that each side with their attorneys should sign it.
Once it is signed, the settlement becomes binding pending receipt of the settlement check as well as the signing of a more formal settlement agreement. Although mediation statements are confidential, a written and signed mediation agreement is enforceable in the case one of the disputing parties refuses to abide by the settlement.
Advantages of mediation
- It allows the disputing parties to try settlement negotiations in a dynamic way, while they are physically present and focusing exclusively on the case
- Saves time and only costs a small part of the court and attorney fees
- Since no statement made during mediation can be used as evidence at any trial, this enables the disputing parties to be completely open without the risk of having to answer for their comments in court
How long does mediation process take?
The process can take some time (from a few hours to a few days) depending on the case, but will not take much time as litigation would.
The parties may resolve a case at any time, whether before mediation, after or even during trial. That said, not all mediation cases are settled. For mediation to be successful, it is necessary to employ the services of a well qualified mediator who is skilled in the subject matter of your dispute and experienced in the negotiating strategy.
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