Mediation is an informal dispute resolution method with the aim of reaching a decision where the parties will be able to maintain a relationship afterwards. The independent third party – known as a mediator – is not allowed to offer suggestions to the parties, but instead encourages the parties to come up with potential solutions. Because the atmosphere is informal, the parties are encouraged to co-operate. The entire process is voluntary, and decisions reached are not legally-binding.
Mediation is significantly cheaper than going to trial, and its informal nature encourages a healthy compromise.
Mediation requires voluntary cooperation between parties. If a party refuses to participate, or to reach a compromise, the parties may not come to a resolution. Additionally, mediation is inappropriate for situations where there is a clear power imbalance. If one party exerts dominance over another, the resolution reached may be unjust, and the mediator is powerless to impose any decision to rectify this injustice.
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