Although often referred to as an “alternative dispute resolution” method, mediation may one day become the preferred method for dispute resolution, instead of resorting to litigation. Worldwide mediation is becoming more popular as an alternative method of dispute resolution. However, you may not be familiar with how mediation is used in The Bahamas.
Mediation is a dispute resolution process where an impartial person who may be a trainer mediator, an experienced attorney, a retired judge or someone with special expertise in a relevant area, “assist[s] the parties by meeting with them together or separately to encourage and facilitate discussion between them in an attempt to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute or any part of it.” In other words, the mediator speaks with the parties about their positions on facts and legal issues in the case and works with them to reach a monetary settlement or other resolution.
There is no requirement currently that parties to litigation must attempt mediation before they will be permitted to pursue their claim before the courts. However, private mediation is increasing in popularity because the parties can choose their own mediator and venue. Private mediation can be a good option before starting litigation to save time and money, or the parties can pursue it at any time after filing a lawsuit but not after a judgment has been rendered.
The decision to pursue private mediation may be voluntary with a jointly appointed mediator, or there may be a mediation clause in an agreement. Mediation clauses in existing agreements require the parties to attempt mediation before pursuing any other option to resolve a dispute arising from the contract. The mediator then works with the parties on the dispute, and if no resolution is reached, then the parties can pursue litigation or other options.
Many different types of legal disputes are suitable for mediation. For example, mediators often accept cases on the topics of contracts or business agreements, divorce and child custody, trusts and estates, insurance, personal injury, and employment. Parties considering mediation will want to think about whether they think discussing the facts and law will bring the parties closer together, the cost of mediation, the cost and time of litigation, and other factors. Often, everyone being in the same place at the same time, thinking about the dispute, inspires the parties towards resolution.
Thinking about mediating your dispute? Find out more about mediation by downloading our mediation brochure or visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.
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