Mediation vs litigation or arbitration

Mediation is cost-effective
Mediation is far cheaper process than litigation. Not only are the hourly rates usually less than attorneys rates but the parties are paying one mediator, as opposed to two attorneys. Arbitration requires payment of an arbitrator, in addition to the cost of attorneys.

Mediation is a quicker process
Anyone who has been involved in litigation knows that it is an extremely time consuming process and the courts are so overtaxed that it may take years for a matter to be heard and to reach a conclusion. The court process is also rigid and set by precise rules, where as mediation is a flexible, more informal process that can be tailored to the parties’ needs.

Mediation is a constructive process
Litigation is an adverserial process. This means the focus is on the parties fighting against each other rather than working together to create a constructive outcome that works for both parties. Also, anyone who has been through litigation knows that there is very little satisfaction in litigating – the party may ultimately “win”their case but that is measured against loss of time, energy, money and whatever the outcome, neither party is really satisfied. I would say that litigation exacerbates the trauma of dispute and it fuels animosity and alienation between people. Mediation empowers parties to make decisions for themselves and to turn conflict into a positive process.

Mediation is personal
Why do we think that a judge or an arbitrator, who has never met us before and all they know about us are facts and legal arguments, are the right people to make decisions that affect us and our relationships with each other? Mediation is about hearing about the parties’ experience, expectations, hopes and wishes and can be as detailed and inclusive as the parties choose it to be.

Mediation is flexible
Mediation can be attempted before, during or after litigation. Mediation can be resumed at any time. Relevant parties can bring their insight to the dispute, such as extended family members or co-workers. Professionals, such as teachers or psychologists can be consulted. Mediation sessions may be formal or informal and can take place almost anywhere. Mediators often work evenings or weekends.

Mediation is transformative
Even if all that happens is the parties come together to sit around a table, the fact that they have a space to communicate and an opportunity to try, will have some positive effect on the parties and their relationship. But don’t believe me, come see for yourself!