Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution and is set to become more widely used after the recent increase in Court fees (from March 2015) as many would see the relevant costs as a stumbling block.
In many situations, mediation provides parties with a good opportunity to resolve their differences without going to court. There are advantages and disadvantages to the mediation process and some of those points are dealt with below:
- Costs: Mediation can cost less than dealing with a dispute in court.
- Time: Many courts are backlogged and cannot hear cases as quickly as one would like. Mediations can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties and the mediator. Mediation can be a useful tool to bring a dispute to an end swiftly.
- Control: if your case goes to court, then you are bound by the ruling of the judge. However, in order for a mediation agreement to be enforceable, you have to sign an agreement. Without your consent, any agreement would have no effect.
- You Can still ‘have your day in court’: If you are not happy with the mediation and you do not reach an agreement, you can still proceed to court.
- Without Prejudice: any mediation is completely confidential unless the parties to it reach an agreement.
- Waste of Time & Cost: Whilst it is often the case that parties can save time and money in mediating a dispute, this is only the case if each party is truly willing to negotiate.
- Independent Mediator: It is important that you or your representative researches the most appropriate mediator to your dispute. Mediators are trained professionals and will not show any bias during mediation.
- Without Prejudice: As above, however, some parties wish for the outcome of a dispute to become public and so this may not be suitable to all.
Mediation is very useful for resolving many different types of issues. However, before you agree to it, you must carefully weigh the pros and cons of the dispute resolution method to decide if it is likely to be successful for you and any dispute you may have.
DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Carters Solicitors directly.
Published on 11th March 2015
(Last updated 28th March 2018)