What sorts of disputes is mediation suitable for?
Mediation is the process of resolving a dispute through the intervention of a ‘neutral’ third party.
Mediation can be used in many fields, and is used with the goal of settling conflict between parties without resorting to the application of the law and the costly and time-consuming process of arguing a case in court.
Types of mediation
Mediation is commonly used as a tool for families facing divorce or separation, especially when residence or contact with children is a cause of conflict.
Mediators provide the neutral environment in which all options can be considered in confidence, with the aim of arriving at a lasting agreement.
Disputes and arguments between individuals can arise in many circumstances, and specially trained mediators usually specialise in different fields, including:
- Workplace mediation – internal or external mediators are called in voluntarily, often to help in situations in which grievance procedures are being pursued, e.g. allegations of bullying and harassment, liability for injury or disease, etc
- Neighbourhood and community mediation – boundary disputes, overhanging trees, noise, animals and pets, etc
- Commercial mediation – usually involves disputes in which one party feels it is owed compensation by another party because of non-delivery of goods, breach of agreed terms and conditions of a transaction, etc
- Families and individuals may choose mediation when resolving arguments over wills and probate
Sometimes mediators are brought in to handle negotiations and discussions not between individuals but between groups who have a shared interest in resolving a case against a company, organisation or even the government.
This may occur, for example, in cases of industrial disease or injury when workers throughout an industry believe a company or government was responsible for the harm done to them through their work.
Benefits of mediation
Mediation has numerous benefits, such as:
- It can be less costly
- It can conclude in a more flexible solution than could be ordered by a court, such as an apology or an explanation
- It can also be less stressful for the parties involved
Parties to mediation can receive legal advice from a solicitor throughout the process of mediation; however solicitors are not allowed to participate in or attend the mediation sessions.
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