There are numerous benefits to mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution. Flexibility, the preservation of relationships, timeliness, cost effectiveness and confidentiality are all key positive attributes of the mediation process. These allow for disputes to be resolved as efficiently and successfully as possible, in a fair an equitable manner.
Flexibility is a key strength of mediation. This is a key attribute which makes mediation a powerful alternative to litigation.
The mediation process invites and encourages parties to come in with open minds, inviting them to work together to arrive at creative solutions. It is vital that mediators approach each situation individually, without preconceptions. Therefore, mediation encourages procedural and structural flexibility. This means that the mediator can focus on the unique and individual needs of the parties at hand.
The flexibility of the mediation process means that ideally, both parties come away satisfied with the agreed outcomes, being able to freely and confidently express their positions. Alternative outcomes are explored in the mediation process, encouraging participants to look beyond the expectations they came in with. Furthermore, the flexibility of mediation invites parties to negotiate their own agreements. The mediator remains impartial during the whole process, facilitating the discussion by encouraging participants to remain open minded to alternative solutions.
Often parties in dispute have a continuing relationship whether it be personal or professional. Because mediation promotes problem solving as a collective, a further benefit of the mediation process is that it seeks to retain and foster these existing relationships. This is done through the facilitation of the mediator – encouraging the parties to self-determine their own outcomes. The fact that the parties walk away in agreeance means that their relationships are more likely to be preserved.
The fact that parties negotiate to determine their own arrangements means that mediations can result in ‘win-win’ situations. This compares to the litigation process whereby one party usually comes away better off than the other. The satisfaction felt by both parties at the conclusion of the mediation means that they are more likely to stick to the arrangements made – another benefit of mediation.
It is vital that conflicts are resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Mediation results in agreements being reached far quicker and therefore with less stress than the litigation process. Furthermore, the timeliness of mediation means that the process can be extremely cost effective – if undertaken early enough to avoid the numerous legal and court fees.
Confidentiality is another benefit of mediation as a form of dispute resolution. Parties can enter mediation with full trust and confidence that everything discussed is confidential. This allows for complete honesty and integrity, ensuring that each party feels comfortable and safe to express their views and feelings. This reflects the importance of communication throughout the mediation process.
The numerous benefits of mediation solidify its importance as a key form of dispute resolution. The fact that mediation is flexible, aims to preserve relationships, is cost and time effective and is confidential means that disputes can be resolved successfully and fairly.