Do mediations really work? The short answer is yes! For many disputes, mediation not only helps resolve the dispute but is the best tool to do so. There are a few important reasons why this is true.
- The parties meet in one place
Sometimes having all of the parties to a dispute in one place at the same time is enough to foster genuine discussion. Parties arrive with the mindset of resolving the dispute and closing up the case in one day because their concerns can be addressed directly rather than waiting months or even years for a day in court. Also, the parties can convey questions and information through the mediator to the other parties, rather than having questions unanswered. The process is much more flexible than the typical exchange of documents and information in a court case.
- The parties confront the facts and law
Preparing for and attending a mediation forces the parties to confront the facts surrounding their dispute. They will be asked to explain to the mediator, a neutral third party, why a particular fact is not an obstacle to their claim or that the fact truly is an obstacle. This process can spur on settlement discussions.
Further, the parties can choose to share information such as witness statements or confidential agreements with the mediator but not with the other parties. The mediator can use that information to inform her discussions with the other parties, even hinting at how the existence of the information could affect the other parties' claims.
Often, the parties will choose a mediator familiar with the area of law governing the dispute. The mediator may raise additional legal issues or important court decisions that the parties had not considered. The mediator also may have insight into witness credibility, admissibility issues, or other obstacles that the parties should factor into an assessment of settlement amount.
- Mediation saves time and costs
Paying for a few hours of a mediator's time pales in comparison to the costs of going to trial. Parties always should evaluate the time and money they will spend in litigation versus the potential recovery. Often, you will find that mediation is faster, more effective and less adversarial, all while costing less than going to court. The prospect of paying mounting attorneys' fees and court costs as time goes on can motivate settlement. Finally, once the parties have paid for a mediation, they may consciously or unconsciously want to get their money's worth by settling the dispute while everyone is in the same place at the same time.
If you want to try mediation, seek out an experienced mediator to facilitate discussion between the parties. To find out more, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.