Mediation is a process in which a neutral third person, the mediator,
encourages and facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more
parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process which has the objective
of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary
agreement. With non-binding mediation, decision-making and authority rest
entirely with the parties. The mediator acts as a facilitator, guiding the
parties in identifying issues, engaging in joint problem-solving, and exploring
creative settlement alternatives. Although the process is voluntary and
nonbinding, it results in a strikingly high settlement rate. There are a
variety of reasons to select mediation,
rather than litigation or arbitration, and it has become increasingly common
for courts to order parties to mediate in cases in which they have not engaged
in settlement negotiations prior to trial.
Parties are generally more satisfied with a mediated resolution, rather
than one imposed upon them such as happens with a court judgment, because
the parties created the solution themselves. In recent years, the use
of binding mediation has developed as an alternative to arbitration and
incorporates the negotation aspects of mediation with the certainty of an
outcome. Mediation is also much less costly than protracted litigation or
arbitration. The fees charged for mediation vary by jurisdiction, and are
set forth in Fee Schedules published by each USA&M office.
The use of binding and non-binding
mediation has increased greatly in both the private and public sectors,
particularly for legal and business disputes. Many companies have chosen
to insert mediation clauses into standard
contracts as a preliminary dispute resolution step before arbitration or
litigation. United States Arbitration and Mediation is a leader in providing
innovative uses of mediation to resolve disputes throughout the country.
USA&M has developed standard mediation
procedures which apply to all cases submitted to USA&M offices.
For additional information regarding mediation through USA&M, refer
to the Mediation Questions & Answers link
to this site.