If you are involved in a legal dispute, using an alternative dispute resolution process is usually a viable option to resolve your case. Mediation is one such process that can provide a low-cost solution to a legal problem. You may have also heard of other methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as conciliation and arbitration.
In fact, taking part in alternative methods of resolving a dispute prior to instigating Court proceedings, is compulsory in several areas of law. Mediation is often used for:
- Civil and commercial disputes;
- Building and construction disputes;
- Debt recovery and contractual disputes;
- Family provision claims; and
- Family law matters.
We understand the impact that a legal dispute can have on your life, your business and your wellbeing and will always look to the most effective way to resolve your case in terms of cost and outcome.
How does mediation work?
Mediation involves a neutral person (the mediator) meeting face to face with the parties to a dispute and assisting them to reach a resolution. The meeting is confidential, and the mediator does not provide legal advice nor does he or she determine the dispute.
Mediation is best used when the parties are willing to negotiate in good faith and make genuine attempts to resolve the dispute. Even if the mediation does not provide a definitive outcome, it can at least identify the issues in dispute and narrow the unresolved matters.
Mediation is ideal even for highly complex matters where reports by experts may also be used for the process.
If an agreement is reached the parties can formalise their negotiations be entering into terms of settlement.
Advantages of mediation
Litigation is expensive and can become protracted. In addition to the obvious cost and time savings, mediation has many other benefits, such as:
- The location, date and time for mediation is determined by agreement between the parties, as opposed to a Court timetable. This usually means the dispute can potentially be resolved quicker and at the parties’ convenience.
- The mediation setting is less formal than a Court hearing, with a lower threshold for evidentiary formalities.
- The parties can explore more creative solutions to resolve their dispute which might not be available through Court orders.
- Mediation offers an opportunity to preserve the parties’ relationship, particularly when they intend to continue working together. This is an important consideration in family law disputes and is also beneficial in commercial arrangements where contracts for ongoing products or services have been entered. Resolving the dispute quickly can help the parties continue with their business relationship and obligations under the contract.
Mediation can be a cost-effective solution to resolve legal disputes with the potential to maintain relationships and avoid lengthy and exacerbated Court proceedings.
Despite best efforts however, it may be impossible to resolve a matter using mediation. In such cases we will carefully assess your matter and its likely prospects if litigated, so you can make an informed decision. We are experienced litigators and, if instructed, will pursue your case in Court vigorously.