Mediation is a powerful method of dispute resolution and the benefits are plentiful. It offers both practical and interpersonal advantages that are often overlooked or ignored in legal proceedings. The benefits of mediation are often greater, even in comparison to other forms of dispute resolution. While mediation cannot guarantee specific results, evidence and trends in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) suggest all of the following are characteristic benefits of mediation.
Undoubtedly mediation is much quicker than litigation. The current UK court system is overburdened by courts that are closing down alongside increasing numbers of cases, meaning that those wanting to bring a claim may have to wait months, or even years, to get their moment in court. If you consider lengthy litigation processes and possible appeals, this could run into several years. If all parties are open to trying mediation as a form of >>Alternative Dispute Resolution<<, parties can potentially resolve the problem in a matter of weeks.
Mediation is cost effective and recognised as a cheaper alternative to costly court fees. The avoidance of such court fees, makes mediation a very attractive method of dispute resolution.
Often overlooked, the interpersonal impact of lengthy adversarial disagreements can be overwhelmingly negative. Broken relationships, poor communication and ongoing animosity, are often hard to move past without the intervention of a third party. This is where the benefits of mediation really come into their own. Interpersonal advantages are a big draw for people looking to not only find a resolution to a dispute, but also heal a relationship. Whether personal or business, mediation can offer many positives:
Mediation allows those involved in a disagreement the autonomy to choose their own process. (Please refer to our Styles of Mediation post.) It provides an opportunity to recognise mutual interests and avoid the risk of an unhelpful court judgement. Mediation allows people to negotiate their own settlements and generally have more control over the outcome of their dispute.
Mutually Satisfactory Results
Court adjudication offers a black and white outcome. But what if that outcome is not favourable to you? Or even the other party? You have to consider that it is possible for court proceedings to deliver a decision neither party are happy with. In contrast, mediation seeks solutions that have been mutually agreed rather than imposed.
Mediation allows parties to tailor their settlement to their particular situations. Mediated agreements offer the possibility to address procedural and psychological issues that are not always determined in legal proceedings. Fine details can make all the difference in appeasing aggrieved parties and attribute greatly to the success of any settlement.
Where an ongoing relationship with the other disputants is necessary, there are obvious advantages to reaching an amicable agreement that all parties are happy with. Preserving and healing relationships are a huge benefit of mediation. Something that would not be possible in a win/lose court process. Further, mediation even offers the opportunity for apology. Something that is said to be impossible to get from legal proceedings.
Because mediation allows parties to reach their own agreement, they are generally more likely to follow through and comply with the terms. This ultimately makes mediation much more successful than court imposed rulings.
Mediated settlements have a tendency to hold up over time because all parties have been in agreement with the outcome. Not only that, but if a later dispute arises, the parties are much more likely to utilise a cooperative forum approach to problem-solving, like mediation, based on their previous experiences.
How Mediation Can Help
Having broadly considered the benefits of mediation it is easy to see the appeal. The use of mediation as a tool for dispute resolution is increasing. With an 86% success rate* and a list benefits this impressive, it is inevitable that the use of mediation will continue to grow.