When a dispute arises between individuals, companies or other organisations, litigating in court can be a lengthy, expensive and sometimes avoidable process. Regardless of whether you are involved in a family dispute, commercial dispute or insurance dispute, court proceedings can be a time-consuming and often costly experience. Alternate dispute resolution (ADR) is an option that can save both time and money.
One of the most common and popular methods of resolving disputes is mediation. It is also the most informal option for resolving a dispute and is often a very successful way of obtaining resolution.
It is essential to be aware of the key benefits of mediation and how it compares to other methods, as this can help when deciding how to resolve a dispute.
Here is an outline of what mediation involves and how it differs from other types of alternate dispute resolution.
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Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution that allows parties to reach an agreement and settlement and avoiding appearing before a court. Mediation has some similarities to arbitration, in that it avoids litigation. The process involves a mediator, but unlike an arbitrator, a mediator cannot make a binding decision. A mediator’s role is to help the parties to come to an agreement through discussion. Mediators are there to help you to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion whilst ensuring the discussion remains calm. One of the key benefits of mediation is that communication between both parties can be re-established allowing each side to put their view of the dispute.
Mediation may be suitable if both parties are still willing to communicate in order to reach a mutually agreeable solution. It is also beneficial for anyone who wishes to avoid high court costs. Importantly, it can be significantly less confrontational than litigation or arbitration, therefore offers a less stressful option. Mediation can be truly successful when both parties are willing to listen to and work with the opposing side.
Mediation is cheaper and often faster than litigation and is also informal. Mediation can remove confrontation which often accompanies court proceedings.
During the process of mediation, both parties are able to explain their perspective openly in a setting that encourages good communication. As the mediator cannot make a binding decision, which differs from both arbitration and litigation, the parties involved may feel less pressure.
The process of mediation requires all parties involved to meet, together with the mediator, who will oversee the process using mediation techniques to encourage openness and mutual communication and try and discover common ground between both parties. The aim of mediation is for both parties to come to a resolution through open communication.
Mediation is an extremely flexible process, and so it can take place anywhere that you choose, within reason. Commonly, it will occur in settings like solicitors' offices or business premises. It can also take place in a home or commercial environment, depending on the nature of the dispute and the wishes of both parties.
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution where a neutral arbitrator hears both sides of the argument and settles a dispute between the parties with a conclusive, binding decision. As with mediation, the arbitrator maintains an impartial position, however, the key difference is that the arbitrator is able to make a legally binding decision, unlike the mediator who can only make a recommendation based on an evaluation of the facts.
Both arbitration and mediation are cheaper and faster than court proceedings, and have the benefit of being held in a private rather than a public place, as with the court. Both systems rely on a negotiated conclusion, arbitration being a legally binding decision, whereas mediation is not.
Find out more about the benefits of arbitration in a dispute here.
Giambrone & Partners has extensive experience in complex alternative dispute resolution, and has a track record of success. Giambrone provides access to a pragmatic and grounded approach to problem-solving with regard to dispute resolution services. Using sophisticated negotiation abilities we can help you to reach an agreement as quickly, avoiding the court process. Our lawyers have considerable experience in managing highly contentious, multi-jurisdictional disputes and provide expert advice and representation.
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Mediation can be used during any stage of a dispute. It can be utilised as the very first step or further along the process. Parties are often expected to attempt mediation before resorting to options such as litigation.
Mediation allows the parties involved to negotiate a settlement between themselves with the assistance of an impartial third party trained to assist with contentious issues. Whereas litigation takes place in a court before a judge who hears the arguments from each party’s legal representative and makes a binding decision, which, depending on the circumstances may be able to be appealed in a higher court. Find out more about Giambrone & Partners' litigation service here.
As previously mentioned arbitrators have the capacity to make a binding decision on behalf of both parties during arbitration, whilst mediators do not. Mediators ensure that there is a calm environment and utilize their skills to guide the negotiations and recommend a course of action.
Mediators can be found at a number of mediation centres, such as the National Family Mediation Service or the London Mediation Office. These resources can be located online.
To learn more about the mediation process or for legal advice, contact Giambrone for a call back.