What is Mediation?

Mediation is a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a trained neutral mediator actively assists people and/or organisations to work towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute. Both parties are in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of resolution.

It can be a far more effective – and much cheaper – way of resolving issues than going through the courts.

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  • Courts actively encourage mediation.
  • Mediation is voluntary. However, refusal to mediate could mean that courts might award costs against you.
  • You can have mediation at any stage before or during court proceedings.
  • Your legal rights are unaffected. This means that if you can’t reach agreement, you can still revert to court proceedings.
  • Mediation is confidential and 'without prejudice'. That means that nothing said in the mediation is admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.
  • Any settlement reached is legally binding once put into writing and signed by the parties.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to how mediation works:

  • Relevant information is shared by each party and the mediator beforehand. This can be in person or, if this is not practicable, via phone.
  • All sides will meet for confidential discussions, both separately with the mediator and, by agreement, face-to-face with each other.
  • Information shared with the mediator by each party is confidential and only disclosed to the other party by prior agreement.
  • The mediator’s role is to help find agreement. They may help a party test the strength of a case in private and may suggest how a proposed solution might be received by the other party. However, they will never take sides.
  • Once a way forward has been reached, a written, binding agreement is drawn up immediately and its implementation planned.

There are many reasons why more and more individuals and organisations are opting for mediation:

  • Successful – over 80% of cases referred to CEDR settle.
  • Quick – most mediations are arranged within a few weeks, or even days, and the formal mediation session usually lasts for one or two days only.
  • Cost-effective – compared with litigation and arbitration processes, mediation is a less expensive way of resolving disputes.