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  • Writer's pictureAntonia Rogers

Why should individuals and businesses consider mediation before the courts?

Delays in the court system

On average it is taking approximately 2 years to have a small claims case heard in court. The timing element alone causes huge amounts of stress on people, which then impacts on their productivity at work and quite often affects their home lives to. People feel powerless as they become just another faceless number in the system, and they consume huge amounts of time worrying about the unknown.

People feel powerless as they become just another faceless number in the system

The longer a dispute continues the more entrenched the parties involved become in their positions. People become angry, they start to want their pound of flesh, they subconsciously become less rational and are no longer able to see the bigger picture. They become internalised as their defences go up.

Escalating Costs

Then you have the costs. Even if you represent yourself in the court system you are likely to have spent significant amounts of money and energy before you even get to have your case heard.

Wellbeing - Oneself and OIthers

If there is conflict in the workplace, this can cause people to experience feelings of low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, uncertainty or hopelessness, worrying about what others may think. The conflict does not just affect the individual involved but also impacts on the wider team resulting in low morale, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and staff turnover rates. People feel uncomfortable and therefore don’t want to be there.

Mediation addresses all of this in the following ways:

  • The mediation process allows for the option of a quick resolution, helping avoid unnecessary stress and upset, helping preserve key relationships whether this be with suppliers, customers, work colleagues or neighbours.

  • The way the mediation process works is to encourage a problem solving mentality rather than apportioning blame.

  • Mediation does not focus on the past but looks to the future – it is a forward thinking process.

  • It allows for both parties to be winners in so much that, any agreement reached is a mutually agreed resolution, not one that is imposed on you as would happen if the matter was decided by a Judge in court . Mediation is your process and therefore you are in control of its outcome.

  • Mediation is a voluntary process, parties are there of their own free will. The process will work best when the parties arrive with the mindset that they have genuine desire to address the disagreement, and an intention to try a find a means of agreeing a way forward.

  • It is a completely confidential process. As such it allows for an open, frank and honest conversation, in a safe and secure environment. This affords you the opportunity to lay all your cards on the table with no fear of repercussions. Nothing said or discussed in a mediation can be used in any future proceedings so it is a real opportunity to get everything off your chest.

  • Mediation is a completely impartial process. You will not be judged. The mediator is there to help facilitate discussions. The mediator helps to find and explores areas of compromise. They are not there to make decisions on the merits of the dispute or make judgement about parties' involvement or behaviours.

  • Mediation allows you to think “outside the box” and discuss what would work for you. Anything is on the table for discussion with regards to potential means of resolving the conflict and moving on. Therefore parties should not hold back from proposing possible means to addressing individual concerns irrespective of how unconventional they may seem. This is something that a Judge in court can not do as they are constrained by the law and the potential orders they can make. This is one of the reasons that Mediation can lead to a win win situation as opposed to the winner and looser outcome of a court hearing.

The cherry on the cake is that it mediation is extremely cost effective when factoring everything in.

Both parties have a vested interest in the mediation process

Not only are the fees split by both parties, so both parties are making a financial commitment to the process giving them a vested interest in the process, but when considering all other costs involved, it is a fraction of what it would cost to take the dispute all the way through the traditional channels.

  • It provides a no-obligation opportunity to work through options for resolution. As we mentioned above you are in control and therefore if a resolution can't be agreed then it cannot be reached. You need to be satisfied with any proposals made and if you are not, then no agreement will be reached. Not all mediations are successful, although the majority are. Courts are now actively encouraging parties to attempt mediation before hearing a case in court and therefore it does not in any way effect your rights through the courts.

  • Importantly, with the exception of a workplace agreement, if any agreement is reached then the contents of the agreement will be recorded in a formal document that all parties will acknowledge and receive a copy of. This document will then be legally binding and therefore if broken, it can be enforced through the courts.

The benefits of mediation are widespread and offer both personal and commercial benefits. Between us, at Moving on Mediation, we have a wealth of experience and knowledge across a wide range of areas of expertise.

Feel free to get in touch for an informal chat about how we can help you.

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