When can mediators and ADR practitioners help you?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. Mediators are qualified professionals who can help to resolve a dispute through the use of mediation.

Mediation involves the parties to a dispute engaging in face-to-face discussions about their problem in a neutral environment. The mediator is a party to these discussions, and acts as an independent advisor who can offer structure and direction to the discussions. A mediator is not there to present a solution to the problem; instead they allow the parties the freedom to express their individual concerns in order to come to an agreement. It is a flexible procedure that can be quicker and cheaper than pursuing a claim through the courts. Mediation allows a conciliatory relationship to be established between the parties following the dispute, which can be beneficial for both professional and personal relationships.

Mediation can be used for all kinds of disputes; commercial disputes, family disputes, and workplace disputes are all amenable to ADR. Mediators may be specially qualified or experienced in leading mediation in one or more of these specific areas.

Mediation is not legally binding on the participating parties. A mediator is not a legal professional and cannot offer the parties legal advice. If an agreement is reached as a result of mediation, the parties are advised to have their own solicitors examine and formalise the agreement.

There are other methods of resolving a conflict outside of the courts in addition to the use of mediators. ADR options include arbitration and collaborative law. Both arbitration and collaborative law have a higher degree of formality than mediation. Different methods of ADR will be suitable for different disputes.

ADR is becoming increasingly common and many solicitors will recommend the use of an ADR method to avoid the costs, delays and uncertainty involved in litigation proceedings.

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