The truth is there will always be conflict in the society but what matters the most is how we solve the issue. I am sure all of us have heard of mediation as a means of conflict resolution. Mediation is an informal conflict-resolution method that involves guided negotiations between parties aided by a neutral third party or mediator. During mediation, the parties in conflict are allowed to air out their grievances, clear misunderstandings, and come to an amicable agreement. Just like everything else, mediation has its benefits as well as drawbacks.
1. Saves on time hence a faster outcome. Depending on the matter at hand, a mediation process can take several days to weeks before the issue is solved. This is a shorter time frame when compared to the court system that can take several months and even years to resolve a dispute.
2. Less costly. You will spend more money trying to settle a dispute through the court system than with mediation. A mediator is likely to charge less than a lawyer. Furthermore, because the process might take a short period means the cost will be less.
3. Less formal. The informal setting of mediation allows the parties involved to talk more about the problems at hand without being held back by a set of rules and regulations.
4. Offers confidentiality. We all know that court cases are a public affair but mediation is usually confidential. Whatever you talk about and the conclusion you arrive at will be kept behind closed doors. There are no records or evidence as is usually the case when you file a lawsuit.
5. It’s voluntary. No one will force you into mediation. Those people who conflict with each other decide whether they want mediation or not. When it comes to court cases, one party files a lawsuit whereas the other is served with a court order or forced to attend the proceedings.
6. Preserves relationships. The fact that mediation is an informal means that relationships can be kept intact. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a business or a family dispute; both parties have a chance of solving without attacking each other. This is usually through good and effective communication.
7. It offers flexibility and control. In mediation, parties are in control of the process. This means that they have a say on how the negotiations are carried out and even the outcome.
8. Compliance is guaranteed. Mediations have fairly better results than traditional lawsuits. Furthermore, the matter is settled faster and hence the parties involved are in a better position to comply with the dispute resolutions.
9. Convenient. Mediations are usually more convenient than the court systems. For instance, the parties can choose a venue that is suitable for all of them. Another thing is that they can agree on the best time for their meetings.
10. Support. Conflicts are not always easy and that’s why an experienced mediator has vast knowledge on how to deal with even the most difficult situations. Each party gets the support they need from the mediator.
1. Mediation does not always end in a settlement agreement. There is always that risk of not agreeing with mediation. Parties might spend a lot of their time and money attending negotiation meetings only to be told their issue can’t be settled through mediation but in a court of law.
2. It may not always be confidential. This is the case when you are accused of something publicly and you probably want to involve them in the conflict resolution. Also, when you settle the matter privately, some people don’t know about the outcome of the issue that is involved in one way or the other.
3. It requires cooperation which might be difficult. Mediation relies on both sides to agree on some common terms but this is not always the case.
4. The agreement is legally binding. Even though there are no lawyers, records, or evidence, the agreement arrived at in the mediation is still legally binding. The agreement is usually documented to prevent violations.
5. There is no judge. In this case, the final decision does not favor one side or the other. It’s supposed to be a win-win situation but it never works that way because there will always be some people who will not be satisfied with the decision.
6. Either party can withdraw. Mediation is voluntary and whoever feels like they don’t want this method of conflict resolution to have a right to withdraw from it.
7. The time frame may be too short. The mediation process is usually quick because everyone is involved in the negotiations. However, this can be a setback if there are people who don’t want to rush things and would prefer to take time.
8. The mediator is an outside party. In this situation, the mediator may not have that much information on the case. On the other hand, a lawyer may have a vast knowledge of the case at hand.
9. Lacks procedural and constitutional protections. The informality of mediation can be a demerit in the sense that one party may have power and a higher level of sophistication over the other. This often results in inequitable settlements.
10. There is no formal discovery process. For an agreement, one party may need the other to disclose some information and there is no way to solicit such information.