What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner (the mediator), identify the disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The mediator has no advisory or determinative role in regard to the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution, but may advise on or determine the process of mediation whereby resolution is attempted. Mediation may be undertaken voluntarily, under a court order, or subject to an existing contractual agreement.
It may also be described as a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner (the mediator), negotiate in an endeavour to resolve their dispute. The mediator assists by:
- Effective & Constructive Discussion
- Greater Understanding
- Identification of Core Issues and Goals
- Acknowledgement of Key Needs and Points of View
- Exploration of Outcomes
- Reality Testing of Potential Outcomes
- Finalising an Agreement
What does a mediator do?
A mediator is an independent third party. They are highly skilled in the mediation process and will help those involved to:
- have an effective meeting.
- heighten understanding.
- identify and clarify communication impediments
- clearly define their needs, goals and potential resolutions.
- agree on and draft outcomes.
A good mediator will engage a number of techniques to enhance understanding and encourage constructive dialogue to achieve a workable outcome.
A mediator is not an advisor for either party. They will not advise or decide an outcome. They will facilitate an environment that allows those involved to make informed decisions as to how to resolve the problem.
A mediator will have appropriate training and qualifications and in Australia, there are certain requirements for those who are accredited under the National Mediator Accredited Standards.
What does mediation cost?
The time and cost of a mediation process represents a much smaller amount than the time and cost spent on litigation. The parties involved share the mediator’s fee equally, or in the case of workplace mediation, these costs are usually met by the organisation.
Costs will depend on the complexity of the problem and in particular on the time invested. An hourly or daily fee will apply. Venue costs if applicable are split equally between the parties.
How long does mediation take?
This will depend on the type of problem and its complexity, but can take anything from 2 hours (plus pre mediation) to 2 days. The mediator will normally require some initial contact i.e. pre mediation, before the mediator meeting. Most property, commercial and workplace mediations will generally take a number of hours on the same day. Those involved will be encouraged to clear their schedule for the day.