DLS Updates – Mediation, the new Litigation

Mediation, the new Litigation

Litigation may not always be the most appropriate or cost effective way of resolving a dispute. In recent years many different forms of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) have developed to give people options to resolve disputes without the involvement of Courts.

The NSW Supreme Court statistics for the past 5 years show that around half of all matters referred to a Court-Annexed Mediation listed by the Court settle through that Mediation. In the family law context, recent figures indicate that as many as 62% of matters referred to a specialist mediator settled either finally or partially. Given the success of Mediation, more and more lawyers are referring their clients to Mediation prior to filing in Courts or Tribunals.

So what makes a Mediation so attractive?

Litigation is a process which requires the parties to take certain steps prior to the final hearing of the matter by a Court. While the process is there to ensure fairness, it can make litigation a lengthy process during which the parties have very little control of the speed or direction of proceedings. Any dispute usually also takes an emotional toll and the process of litigation can be draining.

Mediation is a process which allows participants greater flexibility and input in generating their own options to resolve their dispute. The process allows parties to take ownership of the resolution and come to an agreement in terms that are specific to their situation and often in ways that would not usually be ordered by a Court.

One of the major benefits of Mediation is the fact that neither party is forced to agree. Unlike an Arbitrator, a Mediator has no power to make an agreement for you. Studies have shown that people are more likely to comply by an agreement that they had some part of negotiating.

Mediation fees are considerably less than the litigation process and are usually split equally among the parties. Mediation can settle a dispute quickly and participants can make their own timeline for any action needed. Filing fees of Courts and Tribunals can be considerable and Mediation can be a considerably cheaper option often resolving the dispute before it escalates saving you time, frustration and money.

Best of all, information disclosed during the course of Mediation is private and confidential. Even if the mediation does not resolve all issues, it may allow the parties to narrow the issues in dispute and if the matter proceeds to Court the information disclosed during the course of the Mediation cannot generally be admitted as evidence during the proceedings.

Where do I find a Mediator and what qualifications should they have?

While anyone can call themselves a Mediator, an Accredited Mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) is a person who has met a minimum standard of training to comply with the Approval and Practice Standards under a System used throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Accredited Mediators, such as our Kelly Dewey, receive accreditation through registering with an Accreditation Body and have to continue to practice and meet minimum training requirements to remain accredited.

A skilled Mediator can assist with identifying matters which the Parties do agree on to diffuse tension and then narrow down the issues in dispute so that negotiations can stay focused.

By using an Accredited Mediator you can be assured of the quality of mediation services and that you are getting someone with the skills to manage your mediation and guide you towards a resolution.

Mediators come with different ranges of experience and cost but usually offer fixed fees as we do.

If you would like advice, guidance or assistance about mediation, please contact us on 61 2 9212 1099 or email us info@dls-lawyers.com. You can also find more information on our dedicated website http://www.dls-mediationservices.com