Legal action can be stressful, regardless of whether you’ve taken the action or are trying to defend your position.
It’s a big step to commence legal action because there’s a chance that you may wind up in court. That can mean that you will pay for court fees, legal fees and expert’s reports, to name a few. There are also usually a number of hearings before the trial. These are known as interlocutory hearings, in which the court will give directions about how the matter is to proceed.
It can be a daunting and challenging process and it can really affect your hip pocket.
Thankfully, not every case goes to trial as many can be settled without getting too far into the court process. But sometimes, even the settlement route needs a bit of help and this is where mediation comes into its own.
What is mediation?
Mediation is basically a process of discussion in which both parties agree to meet with a mediator and try and resolve the issue. A mediator:
- Assists and guides the parties through the process.
- Is independent and has no attachment to either party.
- Usually has a legal background and so understands how the law operates and how it applies to each party’s version of events.
The parties can agree to have their lawyers present, and often this is highly recommended. The great thing about mediation is that it can be used at any stage – before there is legal action, while the case is being prepared for trial or even during a trial if it appears that the parties would be better off mediating to resolve their differences.
Typically, parties will meet together in a large room and their positions are put to the mediator. The mediator may then ask them to break off into private rooms to discuss the matter with each party privately. The parties come together and separate as they need to until, hopefully, a resolution is reached.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits in using mediation rather than having the case heard in court, including:
- The informality of mediation is usually less stressful.
- The parties decide on how to resolve the matter. The mediator is the guide. This takes away the unknown element of how a Court may decide the case at trial.
- Mediation allows participants to craft outcomes that better suit their needs.
- Mediation allows the parties to express themselves on a personal level without the threat of cross-examination. Sometimes it is important for the affected people to let the other parties know how the dispute has impacted on them.
- Mediation can resolve the case more quickly and inexpensively than going to court.
- The parties can agree to keep the mediation and any settlement of the case private and confidential. As any court case is usually a matter of public record, parties are at risk of having any “dirty laundry” aired in a public setting and possibly even reported on by the media.
Websters Lawyers’ mediation services
Websters Lawyers understand how important the mediation process can be and the importance of handling mediations in a sensitive manner.
We have trained mediators who can expertly guide parties through mediation, ideally to a resolution that suits you.
We also have a mediation suite set up to accommodate mediating parties and to preserve confidentiality.