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Conciliation and Mediation

Conciliation and Mediation are often terms used interchangeably and they are together referred to as mediation. Both involve the appointment of a third party to assist disputing parties to reach a settlement of their difference. The mediator is not given any power to impose a settlement. His function is to try to break any impasse and encourage the parties to reach an amicable settlement. In commercial disputes an impasse most often arises from either a lack of trust in the integrity of the other party or a genuine good faith difference of opinion on the facts underlying the dispute or on the probable outcome of the case were it to go to court. The mediator may act as a shuttle diplomat acting as a channel for communication filtering out the emotional elements and allowing the parties to focus on the underlying objectives. He will encourage the parties to reach an agreement themselves as opposed to having it imposed upon them. Mediation has proven an outstandingly successful management tool for resolving difficult disputes and should always be considered when negotiations fail before proceeding to arbitration or litigation. It is a means by which the parties can re-learn the basis of communication with which they can then resolve future disputes. This is particularly important in family disputes where invariably there are ongoing issues to be resolved e.g. arrangements for children.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding private dispute resolution process in which a neutral person helps the parties to reach a negotiated settlement.

Mediation is not:

  • Arbitration- where arbitrators make decisions to resolve disputes
  • Litigation- where judges determine the rights and wrongs of disputes
Advantages of Mediation
  • It creates a supportive and constructive environment
  • It enables the parties to control the outcome of their dispute
  • It promotes communication between the parties
  • It uses time efficiently
  • It is cost effective
  • It is a confidential process
  • It helps to teach the parties an effective way of resolving disputes through co-operative decision making
  • It is not an imposed settlement
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