Mediation is not a court of law and is not Arbitration. A court of law has specific rules of evidence and procedure, with a judge, attorneys, bailiff and sometimes jurors hearing a case and imposing a final, binding judgement. Arbitration is less formal than a court room, but is still a structured hearing process. In both venues, each party presents their full case and the outcome is decided for them. What is missing in those processes is a mutual agreement or “meeting of the minds.” Judges, juries and Arbitrators are not interested in settling miscommunication or understanding the core problem, they will simply hear the case and make a ruling. One side wins and one side loses. If they don’t agree with you, you lose.
In my many years of mediation, just about every mediation I have conducted has ended with the parties having a sense of acceptance and satisfaction in their settlement. This comes from knowing that you had a say in the end result, which you do not get in a court of law or Arbitration. In mediation, you can settle, or you can decide not to settle. An agreement is not forced on you. However, 95 percent of the time, the cases settle — even the difficult, hard, and convoluted cases!
Mediation is not, by its nature, meant to be adversarial. The goal is to come to an informed agreeable resolution.
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