Helping You Understand Mediation
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The purpose of mediation is to help parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator facilitates a dialogue between the parties and assists them in formulating their own solution to a dispute.
How is mediation compared to arbitration?
Arbitration is very similar to a bench trial, while mediation is an informal process. While the Rules of Evidence apply in arbitration, they do not apply in mediation. In arbitration, the arbitrator decides the outcome of the case based on law and fairness. In mediation, the outcome is entirely self-determinative, and the parties decide the terms of the agreement if they reach one.
How does mediation work?
After all parties decide to mediate their case, they meet with a mediator to begin a discussion. The process begins with the mediator explaining how the process works and answering the parties’ questions. Each side has the opportunity to relate their side of the conflict. The parties then discuss each issue while the mediator helps facilitate the dialogue.
At a certain point in the mediation process, the mediator may meet privately with each party to continue discussing the issues in confidence and work toward finding a solution. If a settlement is reached, a memorandum of the agreement is written and signed by all parties. Once this agreement is approved, it is binding on all the parties.
Is a settlement agreement binding?
The parties determine whether the agreement is binding. If they choose, they can sign a memorandum stating that the agreement is binding on all parties. This would resolve the conflict and close all doors to litigation.