What is Mediation?

Mediation is an extrajudicial process by which a neutral third party – the mediator – helps people in conflict negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.

A mediator facilitates communication, promotes understanding, assists the parties to identify their needs and interests, and uses effective problem solving techniques to enable the parties to reach their own agreement. During a mediation procedure the parties have the opportunity to describe the issues and feelings; provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute.

Although in some cases the law establishes compulsory mediation, the process remains “voluntary” in that the parties are not required to come to an agreement. The mediator does not have the power to make a decision for the parties, but can help the parties find a resolution that is mutually acceptable. The only people who can resolve the dispute in mediation are the parties themselves.

Mediation is a confidential process where what was discussed or agreed in private is not disclosed to others without everyone’s agreement. Where mediation is used to try to avoid or resolve a dispute, and if the mediation does not result in an agreement, the parties can still go to court.