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Think twice before you start a battle: How mediation brings value to workplace and legal disputes.

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

There is an old expression that anything can be solved if you talk about it.

I think there is much truth in this. The courts, businesses, and workplaces believe this too.

Most people, if given the opportunity of resolving issues without tonnes of time, money and broken hearts would choose to do so. Why throw in your resources when you dont have to?

Granted there are situations in which mediation is not warranted such a: in the case of an uncontrolled risk of violence; the need for legal precedence that only the courts can decide; or when the relationship doesn't matter to the bottomline.

In my experience, mediation provides an excellent alternative to waging a legal battle to obtain what you believe you are entitled to and here's the real reasons why:

Client Control: Mediation increases the control the parties have over the resolution as parties are directly involved in negotiating their own agreement. There is no final agreement unless both clients agree to it. This also allows for comprehensive and customized agreements to be developed and eliminates imposed settlements which occur via adjudicated processes.

Higher rates of compliance result because parties who have reached their own agreements through mediation are generally more likely to comply with the terms than resolutions imposed by third party decision-makers.

Reduced Cost. Traditional litigation is very expensive and the total cost is highly unpredictable. Parties in litigation may be subject to a judgment for costs of the other party’s legal fees. Mediation costs far less because the focus is on constructive resolution vs. destroying the other side’s position and interests by filing motions through court. The mediation fees are predictable because they are set at the onset of the process and the parties direct participation in the resolution process guarantees that they know how much time is being spend to move the matter to resolution.

Faster Agreements. Litigating is a complex, procedurally intensive process that takes significantly longer to complete. Mediation allows parties to address issues sooner and faster, thereby avoiding further compounding of issues and negative impact.

Avoid Court. Mediation offers clients an opportunity to enter binding legal agreements without continuing further in litigation, including going to court. At the end of the mediation, documents which detail the terms of the resolution are completed and shared with appropriate parties, agencies or court. Parties appreciate avoiding protracted legal proceedings that are part of traditional court processes.

Privacy Maintained. Mediation is a confidential and private process. Unlike the potential publicity of court proceedings, everything said at the mediation is entirely confidential to the parties. Mediation clients are generally allowed to decide what goes into the agreement paperwork. Ugly allegations and personal information that ends up in the public record as part of litigation, is avoided.

Relationships Preserved. Whether in business or in family disputes, preservation of relationships can be a key benefit of mediation. Mediation helps participants to focus on effectively communicating and understanding each other’s interests as opposed to attacking one another via the combative litigation. It is understood that the dispute will be resolved as greater understanding of what is important to each party is considered and understood. This process facilitates less antagonism than is generated through litigation and is more likely to foster appreciation, compassion, respect and general acceptance of another’s preferred outcomes as opposed to attacking one another. This protects and preserves relationships in the midst of the dispute and for the furture.

Greater Client Satisfaction. Mediation participants report a high degree of satisfaction with both the process of mediation and the mediated agreements they reach. Even if a litigation client is satisfied with the outcome, they are typically dissatisfied with the cost, stress, uncertainty and acrimony associated with litigation. Further, if one litigant is happy with the outcome, that usually means the other litigant is unhappy and may file an appeal.

So before you dig in to your position, and get yourself into a kafuffle, consider mediation with a professional trained mediator designated by the ADR Institute of Canada-- a national body that regulates mediators.

As I Chartered Mediator, I work on several government rosters and with independent parties. I know these value added benefits are absolutely true.

Call me. I am happy to support anyone to: better understand why mediation works; how you can bring someone to the table and how you can experience fast resolutions to your most challenging disputes.



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