As the informative, but perhaps dated, video put out by the courts to help explain the mediation process puts it, “mediation is simply a negotiation which is facilitated by a mediator”.
Essentially, mediation is a chance for the parties to sit down in a setting slightly more formal than a coffee meeting but less formal that a pre-trial conference to discuss and explain their positions in a calm and coherent manner. Mediation is less about legal arguments and more about an attempt for the parties to recognize and understand each other’s positions. It is only after we begin to understand each other that we can get to the heart of the issue. Mediation is designed to promote respect, communication and understanding.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation is a dispute resolution mechanism that can be highly effective if both parties buy in to the mediation’s objectives. Often times, there is multiple solutions to the same problem, and mediation helps to uncover solutions that the parties may not have considered. Most people want to keep their disputes out of the courts to help save the time and money that going to trial requires. Mediation offers quick resolution, without the need to go through the added expenses of proceeding to trial.
An important factor in the mediation process is that what is said during the mediation cannot be brought up again later in court, that is, if the mediation process does not resolve the dispute. Discussions during mediation are also confidential, unless all of the parties agree otherwise. This encourages openness, and may help to soothe the parties’ concerns about revealing too much information.
Who attends Mediation?
A lawyer, or an agent, can attend the mediation with you, and it may be beneficial for your lawyer to be present to understand the negotiation going forward, but the process is fundamentally centered on the parties to the dispute. A lawyer may also assist you by explaining the law to you, your legal options, and the impact the proposals may have on your lawsuit. By allowing the parties to work out their differences, the parties can come to a resolution that works for both of them, and take responsibility for the decision making, instead of having a decision made for them. Witnesses do not need to attend the mediation.
A mediator will also be present during the mediation. Mediators are typically experts in the field of dispute resolution, and will guide the process along, allowing each party to state their case and be heard by the other party. The mediators are impartial and independent of the parties before them. They have no decision making powers, but are able to draft a binding agreement if the parties come to a resolution during the mediation.
Do I Need to go to Mediation?
Court-supervised mediation is scheduled after a civil claim and accompanying dispute note has been filed. The court, or a mediation coordinator will review the file to determine whether it is appropriate for mediation. If your file is selected, mediation is mandatory in order to proceed to trial. Parties to an action can also request to have their file mediated by applying to the mediation coordinator. In the event a party does not attend mediation when they are required to do so, the court can make any order that it considers appropriate in the circumstances, which includes striking out the pleadings of the non-complying party. The big take away here is do not miss your mediation without a very valid excuse.
Do you need a lawyer to attend a mediation with you?
Would you like more information on the mediation process?
Contact Ahlstrom Wright in Sherwood Park, Alberta
Call us toll-free 1-844-558-8750
or Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org