What Is Mediation?


"A process in which an acceptable impartial neutral third party is requested to intervene into a dispute to assist the disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable solutions of the disputed issues."

A Mediator is required when the participants in a dispute cannot resolve their issues by themselves.

Mediation is a dispute resolution process in which the parties control the outcome.

Mediation is like negotiation in that parties themselves arrive at a solution or settlement. Nothing is imposed upon them; they control the outcome. The only resolutions are the ones that both parties agree to.

The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator to ensure that the negotiations are productive. The mediator sometimes meets with the parties individually to allow them to say things they are reluctant to raise in the other's presence, and to consider alternatives.

Much of the work in mediation is done in meetings with the mediator and both parties present (and the parties' lawyers if applicable). Statistical studies indicate that a large majority of mediations result in a settlement (around 75%). The mediation process in this course is based on the interest-based negotiating approach.


  • Is fair as a neutral third party facilitates the process.
  • Is non adversarial & friendly because it preserves the relationship.
  • Is flexible, with a lot of opportunity for movement within the process with no time constraints.
  • Is fast, can be completed in as little as a few hours.
  • Allows the parties to control and resolve at a lower cost.
  • Has high levels of participant satisfaction.
  • Broadens the potential range of resolution outcomes.
  • Allows for third party interventions.

Benefits of Mediation?

1. It is inexpensive.

The whole process focuses on resolution. No time or resources are spent on proving one's case, on complying with procedures or in taking adversarial positions. Lawyers are present or at least are often consulted by both parties. This advisory role is much less time-consuming than "doing battle".

2. Mediation is fast.

Why? Firstly, getting started is quicker; the mediation can proceed as soon as a mutually convenient date is available, often within days.

Secondly, resolution occurs sooner because the information each party needs to assess the situation and come up with settlement options is conveyed in a fraction of the time it would take in an adversarial setting. Even though most matters that go through litigation do not go to trial, settlements take time because the information that lawyers and clients need is usually only obtained when, and to the extent that, court procedures require disclosure.

3. Mediation preserves relationships.

In litigation and arbitration each party tries to win at the expense of the other. Mediation pushes people to collaborate. They find they can be tough on the problem without begin touch on the people.

This aspect makes mediation attractive to parties who will have a continuing relationship whether they like it or not, such as divorced spouses who continue to be parents of the same children, neighbours, and parties who would like to have a continuing professional relationships.

4. The process and outcome are satisfying to the parties.

The process is satisfying because each party feels like he/she has been heard and has participated in the decisions.

The outcome is satisfying because it is based on the actual needs and concerns of both parties and therefore it fits their individual situation.

5. The resolution flowing from the mediation is more likely to finalize the issue and prevent a recurrence of the problem.

This is true because the parties are likely to live up to an agreement they helped create. It is also true because the parties have a greater understanding of the other's needs and concerns than they did before mediation and this may help avoid future problems.

6. Mediation is a confidential process.

In addition to the obvious benefit of keeping one's own business out of the public eye, this also means that a settlement can be reached on a particular matter that one party wants to resolve but does not want to set a precedent for other cases.

Interested in solving your own problems? Review all our Self Help E-Books! See problem solving between couples, freinds or with co-workers. For managers see solving conflicts between two employees, a manager & employee or use workplace confrencing to identify and collaboratively resolve workplace related issues.

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