Mediation is a process guided by an impartial mediator to assist parties to resolve their dispute and to reach a voluntary agreement of the issues. The mediator has no authority to impose a settlement, and parties can terminate the process at any time. Parties remain in control of the process and the outcome. Mediation is generally confidential and is ‘without prejudice’. Parties are free to consult with lawyers before and during the mediation process and are encouraged to seek independent legal advice before finalizing an agreement.
The mediator will try to help in various ways, for example:
There are at least two meetings involved in the process, an individual intake/pre-mediation appointment followed by one or more mediation sessions.
The pre-mediation appointment is to identify the conflict, explain the mediation process, and sign an Agreement to Mediate.
The mediation session allows parties to discuss the issues and to try to work out a mutually satisfactory resolution with the help of the mediator.
The pre-mediation appointment will generally take about an hour and mediation sessions will usually last for two to four hours per session.