Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way to resolve disputes without giving the decision-making power to someone else, such as a judge. It involves sitting down with the other side in the dispute and a third-party who is neutral and impartial, known as the mediator. The mediator helps the parties identify the important issues in the dispute and decide how they can resolve it themselves. The mediator doesn’t tell them what to do and does not make a judgment about who’s right and who’s wrong. The parties make their own decisions about the mediator’s suggestions.
Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), attempts to assist two or more parties in reaching an agreement. Whether an agreement results or not, and whatever the content of that agreement, if any, the parties themselves determine their own resolution rather than accepting something imposed by a third party, such as a judge. The disputes may involve States, organizations, communities, individuals or other representatives with a vested interest in the outcome.
If you’ve given up on negotiating a settlement of your dispute directly with the other party, mediation may be the best way to solve it. Compared to a lawsuit, mediation is quick, private, fair, and inexpensive. And, if your dispute is with someone that you need or want to deal with in the future, such as an employer, landlord, neighbor, or co-parent, mediation will help you resolve your disagreement without destroying that relationship.