Many people believe that the only means of resolving a legal dispute is by going to court. However, there are other means of resolving disputes beyond the realms of the courtroom. One of the most well known means of ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ is Mediation.
Mediation is where a neutral individual known as a Mediator acts as an intermediate between 2 parties and assists them with resolving the dispute. So what are the advantages of Mediation over Court Proceedings.
Mediation can last between 1 and 2 days unlike Court Proceedings which can last of days, weeks, months and in some cases years. Given that Mediation does not often last very long it can help all the parties concerned in focusing on the issues. On some occasions there may be timetables set in Mediation which restricts the discussion of matters to a certain time. Therefore the need to be quick and accurate becomes all the more important. There is also added advantage that Mediation can be arranged on short notice if needs be.
Costs can also be an advantage when it comes to Mediation as they are usually lower than Court Proceedings. The costs of Mediation are often restricted to the Mediators fees and the hire of a room. There is also the added incentive that there is no ‘loser’ and so no legal costs are payable. This is in contrast to the costs involved in Court Proceedings where the ‘loser’ will often have to pay the ‘winner’s’ legal costs which in some cases can be substantial.
Mediation is confidential unless the parties agree otherwise and so is any settlement that is reached. Negotiations that take place during Mediation are known as being carried out ‘Without Prejudice’. This means that any said, done, or any settlement reached cannot referred to any Court Proceedings. This is unlike Court Proceedings where any member of the public or press can known who the parties are, who they are being represented by, what has been said during the course of the proceedings and what decision was made.
Lawyers are at the heart of Court Proceedings; in contrast to this it is the parties who are the heart of the process during Mediation. The parties are usually free to speak and there are no rules of evidence which they must abide by. Parties can often feel isolated in Court Proceedings and will have their case put forward by Solicitors or Barristers.
Court Proceeding involve Civil Procedure Rules which must be adhered these are formal and often technical and will be enforced by the Courts. The procedure for Mediation is far different which allows the parties to dictate how flexible or strictly matters will be run.
Whereas Court Proceedings would suggest that there has been a complete breakdown in a relationship. Court Proceedings will end with one party being the winner and the other party the loser. This can often mean that there is little chance of the 2 sides continuing to do business or work together in the future. In contrast the purposes of Mediation is to achieve the best outcome possible for all the parties involves, there is no ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ it can be looked at as a ‘win / win’. During Mediation it is usually possible to reach any outcome which might not have been possible at the end of Court Proceedings. This means that there is a higher chance that 2 sides can continue or work together.