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what is mediation

The concept of mediation has been around for centuries. When two people had a problem, the local mayor, tribal elder, or clergyman was called upon to help the disputing parties settle their differences. As formal law enforcement developed and court systems were set up, the art of mediation became less important in society...until recently. Because the court systems are so overburdened, many provinces have opted to encourage people to attempt to settle their problems outside of a courtroom. This is called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and Mediation is a form of ADR.

Mediation can be court-ordered or a voluntary process. To begin mediation, both parties meet in a neutral location with a neutral third person called a Mediator.The time of the mediation is agreed upon in advance and is usually flexible so that the parties do not have to take time off from work. As a result, mediation is often performed during non-working hours.

The Mediator facilitates open communication between the parties, and helps the parties identify issues. As mediation progresses, problem solving techniques follow. Eventually, if both the parties are willing, agreement is reached, and that agreement is then written and signed by both the Mediator and the parties involved. This agreement may result in a binding contract that is enforceable in a court of law. Before signing any agreement, the parties have the option to have the agreement reviewed by an attorney.

Mediation Saves Time And Money

Court trials can be lengthy and costly. In fact, many court cases take years to resolve. While not all disputes are appropriate for mediation, especially when criminal acts are involved, many types of disputes can be settled outside of a courtroom. Mediation speeds up the resolution process and costs far less than a traditional lawsuit. As a result, the disputants save both time and money.

Mediation Opens The Lines Of Communication

Many times disputes are the result of misunderstandings or personality conflicts. By opening lines of communication, the parties are often able to vent their feelings and as a result, get to the root of the problem. Once the issues have been identified, resolution then becomes a very real possibility. As the parties begin to communicate, they often find solutions to their differences through negotiation and compromise.

Parties Choose Their Own Solutions

Taking control of the problem is often a relief to the parties involved in the dispute. Mediation allows the parties to choose solutions that they are most comfortable with. In more traditional forms of dispute resolution, that control is taken out of the hands of the parties and is given over to outside influences including courts, magistrates, judges, and lawyers. While our justice system is the best in the world, it is not always necessary for parties to file a lawsuit in order to solve their differences. Some people find it hard to believe that it is possible to resolve major life issues outside of a courtroom. Rest assured that statistics prove that mediation does work!

In a standard lawsuit, there is always a winner and a loser. One party wins his or her case and the other party is left with nothing but large legal bills. Mediation provides the opportunity for both parties to "win" through negotiation and compromise. Mediation results in solutions that both parties can live with.

Types of Mediation
  • Family Disputes: Hurt feelings, broken promises, old grievances...any issue that causes your family pain can be mediated. Sometimes all it takes is a neutral third person to help you resolve family differences.

  • Marital Disputes: No one expects to encounter problems in their marriage on their wedding day. Most people expect to live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Mediation can help you successfully work through marital disputes, separation, or divorce.

  • Personality Conflicts: When personality conflicts arise, people often choose to ignore the problem in an effort to preserve an existing relationship. As a result, hurt feelings turn into resentments. Mediation can help address those hurt feelings while preserving the relationship.

  • Business Disputes: Business disputes are as varied as the types of businesses in the marketplace. Mediation can help your business resolve disputes in a fair and expedient manner. Mediation can also save you time and money.

  • Neighborhood Disputes: Someone once said, "Good fences make good neighbors." While that might be a true statement, it is my belief that good communication makes better neighbors. Neighborhood disputes have been known to escalate quickly if left unchecked. As old wrongs fester, anger grows and crime is often the result. What began as a simple misunderstanding can quickly become a major problem. Mediation can help. The goal of mediation is to open lines of communication before the problem gets out of hand. Mediation can turn problems into solutions.

  • Financial Disputes: Your mechanic worked on your car and you feel you have been over charged. If you take the matter to court, it will be a costly and lengthy process which may not provide the results you're looking for. Mediation is a great alternative to traditional methods when dealing with financial disputes.

  • Labor/Management Disputes: There are two sides to every story and that is especially true in disputes between labor and management. Historically, these types of disputes have been handled through binding arbitration. However, more and more companies are turning to mediation for the resolution of differences because mediation puts the solution to the problem into the hands of the people with the problem.

  • Disputes With Government Agencies: Our courts are hopelessly clogged with a backlog of cases. As a result, many government agencies now attempt to handle disputes through mediation. Mediation has proven to be a very effective tool in dealing with claims involving Government Agencies.
Stages of Mediation
  • Opening Statements: This phase begins the mediation process. Each person who is part of the dispute will be given time to speak, without being interrupted, in order to explain why he or she has decided to participate in mediation.

  • Venting: This phase of mediation is devoted to discussing the issues that need to be resolved. As issues are identified, the parties are given the opportunity to vent their feelings about the issues in a respectful and controlled manner.

  • Clarification: This phase of mediation takes the parties one step further toward resolution by clarifying details pertaining to the issues. This phase is geared toward gathering as much information as possible so that the parties will be able to focus clearly on their goals. As the parties begin to talk more about their goals, and less about their feelings, they often become much more comfortable and confident in their ability to work through their problems. By this phase, the parties have shifted from feelings to facts, and are about to move toward solutions to their issues.

  • Options: During this phase, each issue is explored, options for resolution are discussed, and negotiation takes place through active communication. This phase is the heart of mediation and allows the participants to actually begin to take control of the issues and seek ways of resolving them. This phase is empowering to the participants since it allows them to make peace with their problems by choosing the solutions that best fit their needs, beliefs, and lifestyles.

  • Agreement: This is the final phase of mediation. Issues which have been resolved will be listed in a Mediation Agreement. The purpose of this agreement is to give each party a written document that outlines exactly what has been agreed upon. In some cases, this document will be signed by the parties, as well as the Mediator, and will result in a contract that is binding in a court of law. In other cases, the Mediation Agreement will be taken by the parties to their separate attorneys for review, or legal advice on unresolved issues.
Our Prices

Writing4careers charges $95 per hour + GST on all mediation services and each session is minimum 2 hours. Contact us to set up an appointment.

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