Mediation – Is it your best option?

What is mediation?

Mediation is a way to sort any issues before a divorce. Mediation can sometimes be an option before an employment tribunal. It is a confidential and voluntary service. It usually involves an independent, trained mediator. The mediator will have experience in a particular area of dispute resolution. They are sometimes legally trained as well. The mediator’s role is to achieve a settlement. The mediator will promote communication between the two parties with hopes of making a settlement or resolution through mediation.

Mediation - Is it your best option?

What does a mediator do?

A mediator is not required to undergo any specific training. Many mediators do have some legal experience. This can be helpful when dealing with certain disputes. Resolution mediators are specially trained to resolve conflicts between couples who are divorcing. Resolution mediators deal with disputes such as children arrangements. The job of a mediator is to promote communication between the parties who are having a dispute. Mediation can steer them towards an agreement.

Who will be at the mediation?

Parties are usually required to attend the mediation sessions in person. They can bring their lawyers if it makes them feel more comfortable. The lawyer can also advise throughout the mediation. They can also ensure that an enforceable settlement is drawn up. Relevant members of staff who are aware of the dispute, as well as management with authority to settle the dispute, should attend. Specialists and experts can attend. They should only do this if necessary and if they will help achieve a settlement.

What is the mediation procedure?

An independent mediator will be appointed to the case, once both the parties that are in dispute have agreed to the mediation process. A mediation agency like the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) will usually arrange this. The mediator will then discuss the issues and try to help the parties to agree. They will generally not offer their own opinions on the dispute or assessment. In commercial disputes, lawyers can advise their clients throughout the mediation process. Resolution offers trained lawyer mediators. These mediators can provide legal information on certain aspects of family law.

A successful mediation could result in a settlement or at least a conclusion to the dispute. Any agreement can then be put in writing to become legally binding. It is important to note that it is entirely voluntary to go through the mediation process. A successful outcome depends on whether there is a mutual agreement, and either party can walk away at any stage.

Is the decision legally enforceable?

If you do happen to agree to the final decision; for it to become legally binding, it has to be set out in writing as a contract by a lawyer.

What is the difference between mediation, conciliation and arbitration?

Arbitration is typically a more formal type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); it is usually a tribunal process; with a decision being made by the arbitrator. 

Conciliation and mediation are less formal procedures and generally focus on the promotion of communication with hopes of finding a solution to a dispute. Conciliation involves evaluative methods and involves recommendations. On the other hand, mediators do not make any proposals for settlement.

When is mediation most appropriate?

Mediation is useful for resolving family disputes where separating couples may be on speaking terms. It can also help with business disputes. Usually where the two sides may be willing to use ADR – mainly when cross-border issues are at stake. For example, which would usually require a decision by the jurisdiction.

What is MIAM?

In family law disputes, there is a requirement to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Separating couples are required to attend before they can take a case to court. This meeting, with a qualified mediator in attendance, allows the parties to find out about relevant mediation options. There are exceptions to attending a MIAM (e.g. in cases of domestic violence.

Why is mediation gaining in popularity?

Mediation has hugely grown in popularity over the years. The reason for this is that it has a proven track record of achieving settlements. If you are in conflict or can sense a dispute ‘brewing’, you should be giving the idea of mediation some real thought. It can help to settle all manner of conflicts. In a construction context ranging from complex final accounts, with an extension of time and loss and expense claims as well as claims for defective works and the like.

Do you feel concerned about mediation, making you feel inferior?

Agreeing to take part in mediation does not undermine your position. It just reflects that both parties accept the risks linked with taking forward formal disputes. It shows that both of you want to explore settlement before becoming involved in lengthy and costly proceedings.

Key Takeaway

If you think you may require mediation, please contact a lawyer on and speak to one of our friendly legal advisors. Our legal advisors are here to provide you with sympathetic, understanding advice about your situation. 

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