The UK’s Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution defines mediation as “…a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a neutral person actively assists parties in working towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute or difference, with the parties in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of the resolution.”
- It is a flexible process: The disputing parties can (with or without the assistance of the mediator) decide on the venue, date and time of the mediation, who should attend the mediation, what issues will be discussed and what outcomes will be considered.
- Conducted confidentially and in private: What is discussed during a mediation process remains private and confidential as between the disputing parties and they are able to communicate confidentially with the mediator.
- Without prejudice: Parties to a mediation process do not give up their rights to resort to or continue a litigation process. In addition, no offer, concession or information disclosed in the course of mediation can be used as evidence in any pending or subsequent legal proceedings.
- Conducted by a neutral and impartial mediator: The mediator is the process facilitator (not a judge, advisor or representative) and does not make any decision about the merits of the dispute. The mediator controls the process, but the parties themselves determine the content and the outcome of the dispute. The mediator actively assists the parties in working towards a negotiated agreement.
The CEDR Mediator Handbook Effective Resolution of Commercial Disputes 4th Edition (CEDR October 2004).
Brand, J, Steadman, F & Todd, C Commercial Mediation – A User’s Guide (Juta & Co. Ltd 2012) 4
The Mediation and Dispute Settlement Centre offers qualified commercial mediators who can mediate in all commercial sectors.