Frequently Asked Questions

How does mediation work?

Mediation is flexible and creative. The actual process varies from case to case depending largely on the parties’ needs.  Usually, the parties meet to discuss the issues face-to-face. The mediator helps the discussions remain focused and productive. Then, the mediator may hold private caucuses with each party separately, and will carry messages, clarifications, questions, proposals, offers, and counter offers, back and forth between them. The mediator uses the private caucus and other techniques to facilitate the negotiation.

Is a Mediated Solution a Legal Obligation?

Mediation is non-binding. The emphasis is on fashioning a solution satisfactory to all. However, if the parties cannot negotiate an acceptable settlement, they may still benefit from the process by narrowing the issues to be arbitrated or litigated.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

Control–Mediation belongs to the parties. The disputing parties control the process, scheduling, costs, and outcome of the dispute.

Less Adversarial–The mediation process is informal. It is less confrontational than arbitration or litigation.

Preserves Options–Parties can enter into mediation without jeopardizing their option to arbitrate or litigate.

Swift Settlement–Most mediations are successfully concluded in a single day. Since mediation can be scheduled soon after a dispute arises, parties reach settlement much earlier than in arbitration or litigation.

Lower Cost–Mediation usually entails lower legal and preparatory costs, there is minimal interruption of business or personal life, lost productivity is kept to a minimum, and the fees and expenses of mediation are modest.

Preservation Of Business Relationships–By reaching an early resolution with minimal financial or other strain on either party, the chances for preserving business relationships are greatly enhanced.

Protects Privacy–Mediation offers greater confidentiality than arbitration.

Creative Solutions–Mediators help the parties craft creative solutions.

Low Risk–Settlement potential is high. The case proceeds quickly. The cost is modest and there are benefits even if a settlement is not reached.

Mediation–offers greater confidentiality than arbitration.

How Does a Mediation End?

Throughout the mediation process, the mediator will help the parties negotiate effectively. Efforts to reach a settlement through mediation will continue until:

A. the parties agree to a resolution and execute a written settlement,

B.  the parties conclude that further efforts to mediate the dispute would be futile and declare the negotiations at an impasse,

C. or any party or the mediator withdraws from the mediation process for any reason.

When Settlement Is Not Reached?

Most parties express satisfaction with the mediation process even when they do not reach full settlement. The process, at the very least, helps the participants understand the parameters of the conflict. By the end of a single day of mediation, the improved lines of communication often place the parties in a better position to settle the case at a later stage.

The Personal Opinions, Motivations and Proddings of Rotarian Steve Garrett