Conflict is sometimes unavoidable – a disagreement over a contract, differing views on the value of a property, employment disputes, family disputes, neighbor disputes.  The list is endless.

Litigation is the usual manner in which to resolve these conflicts, but within the litigation process is an alternate dispute resolution process – mediation.

Litigation can be costly – financially and emotionally.  It is time consuming and can take years to work forward toward resolution.

Litigation requires adherence to legal technicalities and procedural steps that can make the process feel slow and expensive. Mediation is a voluntary process where a trained neutral third party focuses on the matters in dispute and assists the parties to find an agreeable resolution between them.

The cost of a lawyer preparing for mediation is far less than the cost of preparing a case for trial. Mediation has an economic advantage even if significant expenses have already been incurred to investigate issues, gather evidence and interview witnesses – these steps are important and allow the parties to get to the point where both sides have enough information about the other party’s case to make an informed decision on resolution at mediation.

The flexibility of mediation is this processes’ most desirable attribute.  Unlike the Court system, the parties select the mediator. As well, the structure is less formal and has less rules to follow.  Communication between the parties can be facilitated in a way to minimize conflict and work towards a consensus because it focuses on the needs of the parties and not on the legal issues of the case.

Finally, mediation is much quicker than waiting for trial and the power is in the hands of the parties to accept or reject a proposed resolution, so the risk is low.  Parties appreciate the control they have and the ability to put the dispute behind them with a solution that they have created.

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