What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which the parties agree to an impartial facilitator (a neutral third party) to assist them to reach a voluntary settlement of the issues in dispute. The mediator does not make a decision, and the parties may terminate the process at any time. Mediation is generally voluntary, confidential and unbiased. Where a voluntary settlement is achieved, it only becomes binding when the parties sign a formal settlement agreement. Parties in mediation may still seek independent legal advice (in legal cases the parties are encouraged to do so).
Mediation may be used in a variety of contexts besides those which are court-connected or otherwise part of a legal intervention. Examples of other contexts include interpersonal disputes in private and public sector organizations/workplaces, conflicts within religious and educational institutions, for wills and estates issues and matters with respect to planning for elders, patient complaints against medical, dental, and allied professionals, wrongful dismissal, personal injury and other insurance-related cases, landlord-tenant and neighbourhood conflicts, disputes among working groups (i.e. Boards), customer complaints, and so on.
Joy Noonan LL.B., LL.M., C.Med explains: What is mediation?