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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

What is "Mediation" and how does it work?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process commonly used in civil lawsuits. It has become a common alternative to litigation in recent years. Mediation involves the parties and a neutral third-party mediator who helps the parties resolve their dispute through negotiation and compromise.

Unlike litigation, in which a judge makes a final and binding decision on the parties, mediators do not have the power to impose a decision. The mediator serves as a guide to help the parties reach an agreement through effective communication and negotiations. The parties’ power to decide the outcome gives them more control over the settlement and the process compared to traditional court proceedings.

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process. This means that mediation discussions are private, and information exchanged during the process cannot be used in court. The discussions between the parties and mediator are conducted in confidence, and the mediator will not disclose that information to anyone outside the mediation room. This confidentiality allows the parties to speak openly and honestly, which can help to generate productive dialogue.

Before mediation, the parties agree to attend voluntarily, and they can choose to withdraw from the process at any time. The mediator has no authority to compel participation. The process is collaborative and participant-focused, which means that the parties have control over the outcome – not the mediator.

Mediation is commonly used to resolve disputes in civil lawsuits for a variety of reasons. Mediation can be much faster than going through the litigation process because both parties are in the same room working directly with the mediator. When compared to litigation, the mediation process is less formal, faster, and less expensive. Since both parties are not required to comply with lengthy court procedures, the process encourages open conversations.

In addition, mediation can also preserve important relationships between the parties. Litigation can become adversarial, which can damage relationships between the parties. Mediation, on the other hand, encourages the parties to communicate and work together to reach a solution that benefits both sides.

Mediation in civil lawsuits begins with the parties agreeing to a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator should not be affiliated with either party to ensure neutrality. The mediator will be responsible for facilitating the conversation and helping the parties reach an agreement.

The process typically begins with an opening statement from each party which will include statements detailing their position, goals, and interests. Then there may be a discussion phase in which the parties will identify and analyze the issues and possible solutions with the mediator's guidance. After the discussion phase, the parties will work to agree on a proposed solution that they both agree to accept. If both parties are unable to agree, the case may proceed with litigation.

Mediation in civil lawsuits can be used to resolve a variety of conflicts. Some examples of areas where mediation is commonly used include professional malpractice, employment law, consumer disputes, personal injury cases, and contract disputes.

In conclusion, mediation has become a popular alternative to litigation in resolving disputes in civil lawsuits. The process is voluntary, confidential, and collaborative, allowing the parties to feel more in control and create more solutions tailored to their needs. Mediation is often faster, less expensive than litigating the matter, and can help to save important relationships between the parties. If you're looking for an efficient and cost-effective way to settle your dispute, mediation may be the right choice.


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