Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that is actively encouraged by the courts as a way of settling disputes rather than going through formal court proceedings, and often preferred by disputing parties as a much more efficient form of dispute resolution, saving cost and time for all parties involved as well as the judicial system. As a result it has become an ever more important dispute resolution tool.
Mediation is an extremely effective form of dispute resolution that is becoming ever more popular as people see the benefits of settling outside of court, with the vast majority of cases ending in agreement between the disputing parties. Even when the mediation occasionally does not end in a clear settlement, few participants would disagree that the mediation process leaves them with a better understanding of the dispute as a whole and the other party’s perspective, allowing them to move forward in a more informed manner. Moreover, parties who don’t settle as part of the mediation process are still free to pursue arbitration or litigation routes thereafter.
The quality and experience of the mediator also has a huge influence on the effectiveness of the mediation process and outcome. A positive outcome does not just depend on the willingness of both parties to come to an agreement, but rather the ability of the mediator to facilitate, remain neutral, and to build rapport with both parties.
The mediator’s role is absolutely key in building trust and ensuring clear expectations are set both of his or her role and of the process ahead right at the start of the mediation journey.
A successful mediator will facilitate effectively by showing empathy and impartiality and an aptitude to tease out the key points by asking the right questions, listening attentively and being able to understand the issues from each perspective. A successful mediator will not only listen and understand, but also be able to show initiative by stepping in where needed, and have experience of where and how to influence discussions.
The combination of an experienced, successful mediator and a willingness from disputing parties to enter into a mediation process can be a powerful one, and is proving time and again to be an efficient and highly effective approach to dispute resolution in both civil and commercial matters.