What is mediation

And why?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a term used in the legal system to describe different methods of resolving disputes without the need to engage in protracted litigation and trial. Mediation is one form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that serves as a very effective way of resolving those disputes that do not otherwise require a judicial or third-party determination. Meeting together in a relaxed atmosphere, mediation allows the parties an opportunity to gain a simple yet thorough understanding of the entire dispute, and then work together to explore options for resolution.

After the introductory presentations by the lawyers, the mediator will usually have the parties divide up into separate rooms so that the negotiation and settlement process can begin. The mediator will move back and forth between the two parties during this process in an effort to exchange certain information and facilitate the settlement of the case.

Anything and everything that is said during the mediation process is confidential and privileged. What that means is that nothing that is said or that takes place during the mediation can be used for any other purpose outside of the mediation session. The advantage of this confidentiality is that it serves to promote an open discussion wherein the parties can exchange information, opinions, offers and demands, and general thoughts in an effort to reach a compromise.

If the parties are able to settle the case as a result of the mediation session, the agreement becomes a legally enforceable contract. It will be reduced to writing and signed by all parties at the mediation. The decision to settle or not to settle is solely the decision of the parties. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will continue to proceed through the court system from the same status as before the mediation session.

Mediation provides a wonderful opportunity for the parties to come together in one place at one time and openly discuss all of the issues and concerns involved in the dispute. Each party is empowered with a high level of input and control over the process. By discussing the pros and cons of settlement, the parties are in the best position that they can be in to reach a favorable compromise and bring an end to the dispute with minimum exposure to the expense and inconvenience that are inherent in litigation.

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