Mediation…the way forward

Mediation Graphic

Emotionally, financially and in the workplace many of us face trying times.
Litigation is costly, time consuming and stressful. So there’s never been a better time to consider mediation as a way of resolving conflict.

Often referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation highlights the issues that are most important to individuals and through open discussion creates a memorandum of understanding. It’s like a blue print for how conflicts can be resolved, created by the individuals themselves rather than a solution which is handed down.

Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding, non-adversarial and without prejudice dispute resolution process that allows the parties involved to find a mutually acceptable outcome.

Accredited mediator Rosemarie Gallagher says, “As an independent mediator I would advise clients thinking of going to court to contact a non-legal mediator before they engage a solicitor. In civil, family and commercial disputes often cases are thrown out of court until the parties involved have taken part in mediation.”

Arduous, time consuming and expensive court proceedings can often be avoided by parties engaging in dialogue. Mediators are good listeners and like counsellors are there to facilitate solutions in an open, non- judgemental environment.

Working on your behalf, a mediator can positively influence maximum teamwork and co-operation. They are experts in guiding discussions, managing expectations, handling difficult issues objectively and efficiently and ultimately finding harmonious solutions to conflict situations.

The key is that the focus is put on the future, not the past. Mediation is based on what ‘will’ happen and how parties can work together in the future, or how incidents that bring parties into conflict can be avoided. Mediation is also completely confidential and nothing can be discussed with a third party without the clear permission of the client.

With the publication of a Draft General Scheme of Mediation Bill in March 2012, this year will see significant changes in the area. Minister Allan Shatter has stated that the general objective of the Bill is to ‘promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings thereby reducing legal costs, speeding up the resolution of disputes and relieving the stress involved in court proceedings,”

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By Rupert Heather