The term "mediation" broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach agreement.
More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that "ordinary" negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential and participation is voluntary. As a trained mediator through UK Mediation, I have knowledge and experience which enables me to act as a neutral third party and facilitate rather than direct the process.
The benefits of mediation include:
- Cost—Whilst I charge a fee, the mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through standard legal channels. While a case in the hands of a lawyer or a court may take months or years to resolve, mediation usually achieves a resolution in much less time. Taking less time means expending less money on hourly fees and costs.
- Confidentiality—While court hearings are public, mediation remains strictly confidential. No one but the parties involved and my self as the mediator know what happened. Confidentiality in mediation has such importance that in most cases the legal system cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content or progress of mediation. Although I take notes taken during a mediation once that mediation has finished these notes are destroyed. The only exceptions to such strict confidentiality involves knowledge of : abuse of a child or actual or threatened criminal acts.
- Mutuality— Those requesting mediation are typically ready to work mutually toward a resolution. In most circumstances the mere fact that parties are willing to mediate means that they are ready to "move" their position. The parties thus are more amenable to understanding the other party's side and work on underlying issues to the dispute. This has the added benefit of often preserving the relationship the parties had before the dispute.
- Support—I am trained in working with difficult situations and as a neutral facilitator, I guide the parties through the process, helping all to think "outside of the box" for possible solutions to the dispute, broadening the range of possible solutions.