Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialists

What is Mediation?

Mediation is generally defined as the process by which someone tries to end a disagreement by helping the two sides to talk about and agree on a solution.

The acceptable third party has no authoritative decision-making power but rather assists the involved parties to voluntarily reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the issues in dispute. In addition to addressing substantive issues, mediation may also establish or strengthen relationships of trust and respect between the parties or terminate relationships in a manner that minimises emotional cost and psychological harm. Below are the mediation services offered:

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A mediator is a neutral third party, generally a person who is not directly involved in the dispute or the substantive issues in question. This is a critical factor in conflict management and resolution, for it is the participation of an outsider that frequently provides parties with new perspectives on the issues dividing them.

The disputants must be willing to allow a third party to enter the dispute and assist them in developing proposals and reaching a solution. Acceptability does not necessarily mean that disputants eagerly welcome the involvement of the mediator and are willing to do exactly as he or she says. It does mean that the participants approve of the mediator's presence.

Intervention implies entering into an ongoing system of relationships, to come between or among persons, groups, or objects to help them. It is important to realise that the system exists independently of the mediator. The assumption behind an outsider’s intervention is that a third party will be able to alter the power and social dynamics of an existing conflict relationship...

For mediation to occur, the participants must begin talking or negotiating. In workplace conflict, labour and management must be willing to hold bargaining sessions, in business, business associates must agree to conduct discussions and governments and public interest groups must be willing to come together to talk. Mediation is essentially dialogue or negotiation.

Voluntary - You can leave at any time for any reason, or no reason. Collaborative - As no participant in mediation can impose anything on anyone, everyone is motivated to work together to solve the issues and reach best agreements. Controlled - Each participant has complete decision-making power and a veto over every provision of any mediated agreement.

A mediator has no authoritative decision-making power; he or she cannot unilaterally mandate or force parties to resolve their differences and enforce the decision. This characteristic distinguishes the mediator from the arbitrator, who is generally empowered to decide for the parties on the basis of a prior agreement...

Our definition states that a mediator assists disputing parties. Assistance can refer to very general or highly specific activities. Here follows some of the more general roles that the mediator may assume in assisting parties in resolving disputes.

The last component of the definition describes mediation as a voluntary process to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute. Voluntary generally refers to both freely chosen participation and freely made agreements. Parties are not forced to mediate and settle by either an internal or external party to a dispute.