Mediation is a voluntary, structured and, above all, confidential process to help people and businesses find a workable resolution to an actual or potential dispute without the expense, time and damage to relationships involved in taking a case to trial. Mediation is without prejudice to the legal issues in a dispute. That is to say that no one can later refer to anything that is said at a mediation or refer to any document created specifically for a mediation, whether in court or in any other context. Mediation may run alongside more formal methods of dispute resolution such as litigation or arbitration, but it can also be effective before disputes escalate to that level.
One advantage of mediation is that it enables disputing parties to devise a mutually acceptable settlement without having a solution imposed upon them by a judge or arbitrator. It is often possible to include in a mediation settlement tangential issues which do not form part of a formal dispute to the mutual benefit of the parties.
In civil and commercial cases the courts of England & Wales place great emphasis on resolving litigation by way of mediation. Although mediation is not compulsory, the courts may penalise a party who refuses to agree to mediate by, for example in an extreme case, having to pay all the legal costs even if they win at a trial. [See more on this topic in my June 2017 blog.]
Use the links below to learn more about mediation:
Does mediation work? What happens at mediation? Regulation Mediation agreement