Disagreements and disputes are inevitable.
How you resolve them is up to you.
Mediation is a process of ‘facilitated negotiation’. It is not focused on determining who is ‘right’ or who has the law on his or her side. It is focused on coming up with the best solution that both parties can accept. It is about finding a ‘win-win’ solution.
I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.
Mediation is about engaging in a constructive exchange. Therefore it takes place exclusively on a voluntary basis, and the entire process is non-binding for the parties up to the moment they resolve to sign the settlement. There is no obligation to proceed unless you think it is in YOUR best interest.
Mediation is the least expensive, least confrontational and least risky form of dispute resolution involving a third party. It is the first step in dispute resolution once the parties conclude they are unable to reach a negotiated agreement on their own.
The spectrum of resolution alternatives is essentially the following:
As one moves from left to right the costs increase, the time and effort required to reach a resolution increases, and the risk of an outcome that is unfavourable increases.
Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument is an exchange of ignorance.
Robert Quillen (1887–1948)
Mediation is a low-key, low-cost and low-risk approach to dispute resolution and one that takes into account the ‘softer’ aspects of the dispute, especially:
the desire to be heard
the desire to preserve the relationship, and
the desire to reach a resolution that is beyond purely legal considerations
Mediation is a process that leads to a managed resolution without relinquishing control. There is no obligation to proceed unless you think it is in YOUR best interest.
When opting for mediation, you are choosing:
The mediation process is very quick to launch, and usually accomplished within a day. While the duration may vary depending on the complexity of the dispute and on the number and location of the parties involved, it remains the fastest way to settle your dispute.
Everything that is said and written during the mediation process is strictly confidential and may not be used against the parties in any subsequent claims or litigation. This confidentiality permits the parties to ‘lay all their cards on the table’ and tackle the dispute openly without worrying about legal consequences.
Because of its short duration and low-key approach, mediation remains by far the most affordable means of dispute resolution.
Mediation does not follow a strictly formalized process. The parties may choose to include their legal counsel or not and can evolve at their own pace. Furthermore, mediation is suitable for multilateral as well as bilateral disputes.
The parties are free to choose their mediator(s). This freedom of choice ensures compatibility between the mediator(s) and parties to the dispute, but also the opportunity to appoint someone who is familiar with their areas of business.
The success rate of mediation speaks for itself: 80% of the disputes are resolved in front of the mediator, or shortly thereafter.
Why? Because the parties have engaged in the mediation process on a voluntary basis, have been able to take a seat around the same table, and signed a settlement that both parties were satisfied with. Such an outcome almost guarantees enforcement of the new agreement by the parties, because there are no losers.
You can resort to mediation any time, even if you have already engaged in a legal process. Until a decision is rendered by the judge, the proceedings may be interrupted and the dispute resolved through mediation. If a settlement is reached, litigation can simply be struck out. This may also apply to only a portion of the dispute or one particular aspect of it.