Whether it's a financial dispute with a family member or civil dispute with a neighbour, there are many ways in which legal disputes can arise. Regardless of the nature of the dispute, mediation is an option that is almost always worth trying. With the right legal advice, mediation could save you a lot of time and money.
What is mediation in law?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that can be used instead of a court trial. The process of mediation is a structured negotiation run by an independent and impartial person, known as a mediator, who is trained and accredited. The mediator assists the parties in identifying and negotiating potential solutions to their disagreement.
Some advantages of mediation include:
- Cost – Mediation can save the cost of preparing and running a trial if the dispute can be resolved. It is also worth noting that the unsuccessful party in a court trial may be ordered to pay the legal expenses of the successful party.
- Time – The process of mediation is typically much faster than that of a court trial so a resolution can be reached sooner.
- Flexibility – Mediation is less formal than a court trial and the mediator can arrange a mediation process which is customised to your specific needs.
When do you need mediation?
Mediation can be used as an alternative to a court trial in almost all civil cases, regardless of the topic of the dispute or the details of the case. There are, however, a number of factors that make mediation more appropriate for a particular dispute. These factors include:
- A willingness of both parties to participate in mediation
- The need for the parties to find a way to to preserve their relationship
- The potential for a negotiated outcome that satisfies the needs and interests of both parties better than a judge's decision
What happens at mediation?
The mediator will consider the best process for mediating your particular dispute before the session commences, taking suggestions from all parties where possible. Mediation then commences with an explanation of the process and a discussion about the background of the matter and the issues in dispute.
The proceeding in your mediation session will depend on your circumstances. Since the process is flexible, rather than fixed, and the mediator will assist in the ways that they think will best facilitate a resolution. Some of the ways that a mediator may assist your negotiations are:
- Asking questions
- Encouraging open discussion
- Offering different perspectives
- Expressing issues in alternative ways
Parties will also be encouraged to consider the consequences of possible solutions to find out if a possible solution is acceptable. In some cases, a mediator will meet with the parties separately and jointly and further mediation sessions can be scheduled if a resolution is not reached in the first session.
What are the outcomes of mediation?
If the parties can come to an agreement on how to resolve their dispute, the mediator will record the details of the agreement and it will be signed by all parties. At this point, the case is closed and will not proceed to a court trial.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will then be prepared for a trial. Mediation may not have completely failed even if the case is not settled, the issues at the heart of the dispute are often clarified which may enable faster proceeding of the court trial.
There are many ways that litigation lawyer can help you resolve your dispute through mediation. A litigation lawyer will represent you during the mediation session as well as help you with a number of things that you need to consider. To get the most out of mediation, you should consider:
- Identifying the core issues and facts that are the source of the conflict
- What is important to you in the resolution of the dispute
- How best to communicate this information to the other party and the mediator
- The possible costs and benefits of a trial if mediation is unsuccessful
At Rose Lawyers, we often encourage our clients to seek mediation rather than a court trial. This is because we have your interests in mind and we know that mediation can save you the time and expense of going to court while still receiving a favourable outcome.
For mediation advice and representation, call Rose Lawyers on 03 9878 5222.