Mediation is a process for resolving disputes by utilizing an independent neutral facilitator who will assist the parties in reaching a mutually satisfactory settlement.
A mediation session involves a discussion of the dispute between the parties rather than a formal presentation of evidence that would otherwise occur in a trial or arbitration.
The mediation process is entirely voluntary and non-binding, unless the parties reach a legally enforceable agreement. The mediator has no power to render a decision or to force the parties to accept a settlement. Mediators do not provide legal or financial advice to the parties. Rather, a mediator's role is to assist the parties in their negotiations by identifying obstacles that may prevent a settlement and implementing strategies to overcome them to reach an amicable solution.
A mediated session is private and confidential and normally held at a neutral location. Any communications regarding the subject matter of the dispute that are generated from a mediated session are inadmissible as evidence in any subsequent litigation against a party.
The American Arbitration Association reports that over 85% of all negotiations result in a settlement. So why does mediation work? Because mediation allows the parties to make their own decisions and ultimately dictate their own outcome.