FAQ’s asked about Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where a third party, trained in conflict resolution, acts as a facilitator between two parties who are in disagreement. They are trained to defuse the situation and provide an objective voice in helping the participants communicate more effectively and in assessing the fairness of options for settlement.The parties have voluntarily requested help in solving their dispute.

How is mediation different from litigation?

Mediation is different from litigation in several ways.

Litigation uses the legal profession to advocate for you in a dispute. There may be legal precedents and rules, which will decide the outcome for you. Your relationship with the other parties may be adversely affected by litigation or at best no better than it was before. The outcome is binding. Litigation can be costly.

Mediation is on a voluntary basis. Effective communication is stressed and practiced between the parties. Options for settlements can be creative and not bound by the law. Relationships may be improved. Although private mediation has a cost it is usually much less than lawyer’s fees.

What can I expect in a mediation session?

One party expresses an interest in resolving a dispute with help. They invite the other party to work with them using a mediator. If both are in agreement, the mediator will meet with each party in a neutral location, to ensure the dispute is appropriate for mediation.

Joint sessions are booked, the number depends on the complexity of the issues involved and the number of people. As second mediator may also be involved if there are a number of individuals in the dispute.  During the sessions a four-stage model will be utilized. When options have been thoroughly discussed and one or more selected, an agreement will be drawn up and both parties will sign. The mediator ensures compliance with the agreement by doing a follow up.

What are the advantages of mediation?

The advantages of mediation are that both parties are comfortable working through their dispute with the help of a neutral third party,  it is less costly than litigation, it may enhance the relationship and allows for a full discussion of interests of both parties to help determine the option chosen. An agreement that both parties have voluntarily designed and signed off has a much better chance to be followed than one arbitrarily decided. There is no guarantee that it will be followed but someone who is likely to default on a mediation agreement may be unlikely to agree to mediation or attend the sessions.

What is the cost of mediation sessions?

The cost of mediation is generally around $ 150.00/hour. Coaching sessions are booked at $50-100/hour and may assist both parties before they go into the mediation and enhancing their communication skills.

What qualifications do mediators have?

Mediators take Conflict Resolution training either through the Justice Institute, ADRIA, or at Mount Royal University. These certificate programs are 200+ of coursework and experiential learning.  They may have education and experience in particular fields so they can specialize (eg. family mediation, union issues, insurance claims, real estate transactions). They may also volunteer in specific agencies, which provide mediation services to communities or individuals. Ask for references from their work situations or clients.

You need to feel comfortable with your chosen mediator or coach, as trust is important in the process.