Mediation & Conciliation – What’s the big deal?

It could be a battle of wills concerning parenting issues, a dispute with an insurer about payment for treatment in some workers compensation cases, or a negotiation process to resolve a common law claim. Maybe it’s a conflict within the workplace, or two business who are having a fight. Parties can become bogged down with their grievances or disputes and it may benefit to bring in an impartial third party to help them find their way to an agreement.

Yes it’s true, Lawyers are experienced negotiators – but their role is to do the best they can to get the best result for their client.

A Mediator or Conciliator has a different role to play.

Both mediation and conciliation are processes which are part of the wide range of “alternative dispute resolution” procedures available. They are intended to assist disputing parties to resolve their action without the need to go to a formal court hearing.
Going to court is rarely the best option as it:
• Means more expense including legal costs;
• Further delay – you have to wait until the Court has time to hear your case, sometimes years in the future;
• Imposes the decision of a Judge or Tribunal on the parties;
• Will result in an unsatisfactory outcome to one or possibly both parties.

In a mediation or conciliation an impartial expert mediator or conciliator uses their professional skills to encourage each party to reach an agreement that will bring the dispute to an end.
They do this by encouraging the parties to consider:
• Their dispute in a logical, less emotional way as a problem to be solved;
• Focusing not only on their competing or conflicting interests but also on their shared interests;
• The relative strengths and weaknesses in each case;
• Exploring possible solutions to their problem to find the most acceptable solution to both.

In many respects mediation and conciliation is the opposite of a court or tribunal hearing – there is no evidence to be given, and the parties are invited to agree and meet in the middle, rather than asking a Judge or Arbitrator to make a decision on what the facts are.

It doesn’t work in every case, but statistics show that between 50% to 70% of disputes can be resolved during or shortly after mediation or conciliation has taken place. It is for this reason that we encourage our clients to engage in this process when the opportunity presents itself.

We also boast two accredited Mediators – Don Cameron & John McDonald. This gives us a unique insight into the role and abilities of Mediators, as well as more effective negotiating skills.