What is Mediation?
March 29, 2011 / Category: Frequently Asked Questions
Mediation is defined as “assisted negotiation”. It involves the use of a neutral third party, the mediator, who facilitates the exchange of information, uncovers interests, and assists the parties to explore options for mutual gain.
As an impartial third party; the mediator, will enforce the ground rules and ensure that discussions proceed fairly, objectively and in a productive fashion. The mediator is not compellable as a witness in a court or an administrative hearing to disclose what occurred during the mediation.
The parties will send to the mediation representatives with authority to settle, and they understand that the mediation may result in a settlement agreement which contains binding legal obligations enforceable in a court of law.
Statements made by a person, documents produced, and any other forms of communication in the mediation are off the record and shall not be subject to disclosure through discovery or any other process, nor are they admissible into evidence in any context for any purpose, including impeaching credibility.
The mediation is a confidential process and the parties agree to keep all communications and information forming part of this mediation in confidence.
The mediation process commonly follows these steps:
- Introductions & opening statements – the mediator opens the first session by setting out ground rules, outlining his or her expectations, and describing the role of the third party in managing the mediation process. You may then be asked to give a brief description of the impact the incident has had upon you and your family.
- Exchanging information and uncovering interests – new information is usually presented and/or documents disclosed at this time. This portion of the mediation is often conducted by alternating joint sessions and individual meetings or caucuses between the parties and the mediator in private. Generating options – Ideas and suggestions for resolving the conflict will arise throughout the course of the mediation. Very often, a list of options are discussed and used as a baseline for the parties in preparing a proposal for reaching a resolution;
This is not a Court appearance. It is an informal procedure and only you and your lawyer, the opposing lawyer and his client and a mediator will be in attendance.
Mediation is a voluntary and informal settlement process by which the parties try to reach a solution, which is responsive to their joint needs. Their participation in the process is not intended to alter their existing rights and responsibilities unless they expressly agree to do so.
Mediation can be a very effective tool in resolving your case. Call today to find out how our Personal Injury Team of lawyers can utilize mediation to assist in resolving your case!!!