mediation services help people in conflict find a resolution they can both live with. They are a quicker, cheaper and less public process than litigation and are also less risky for everyone involved.
Unlike a judge or jury, mediators are trained in human relations and communication skills that help to “separate the people from the problem.” They will spend as much time as necessary to fully understand each person’s perspective and how the dispute began. They will listen attentively, ask questions and offer suggestions in a non-judgmental manner.
The mediator will ask each participant to begin with an opening statement. This will allow each person to state their side of the story without interruption, and the mediator will take the opportunity to see the emotional undercurrents of the dispute. The mediator will then discuss underlying issues and interests, and will assist parties to focus on options for resolution that address their specific needs.
Once all options are weighed, the mediator will help participants to create an acceptable settlement. The settlement may be in the form of an agreement, permit or formal order and is binding upon all parties involved.
The mediation process can be conducted at any stage of the dispute, but is most commonly chosen as a first step in seeking a resolution after attempts to resolve the dispute through negotiations by the parties alone have failed. It can also be a way to stop or interrupt ongoing litigation or arbitration and is especially appropriate when the dispute involves family matters, employment disputes, or business-related issues.