How do we define mediation? It is a way of resolving disputes between 2 or more parties. Typically, a third party - the mediator - assists the parties to negotiate a settlement of a legal dispute.
Disputants may mediate disputes in a variety of domains, such as elder law, family law, personal injury, parenting disputes, workplace disputes, and divorce.
The term "mediation" broadly refers to any situation where a third party helps others reach an agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that "ordinary" negotiation lacks. The mediation process itself is private and confidential, however, when you reach an agreement, as long as the agreement is written out in proper format and signed, the agreement is legally binding.
Participation in the mediation process is usually voluntary, but in British Columbia, when you have a law suit, you can compel the other party to mediate whether they want to or not.
In family law matters and personal injury matters, mediation is used more and more often.
The mediator acts as a neutral third party in an attempt to get the parties to agree. The mediator also directs and facilitates the process itself.
Mediators use various techniques to open, or improve, dialogue and empathy between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement. Much depends on the mediator's skill and training. Despite there being a lot of such training, a lot of people define mediation not so much as an open dialogue, but more as a facilitated negotiation. In short, a lot of people do not hold much out for mediation in terms of learning to truly empathize with the other party, but they see it as a way to resolve their issues and avoiding court.
Avoiding court can be hugely beneficial for parties because court can be very costly and significantly stressful for parties. In order to call yourself a mediator in British Columbia, it requires significant training. Lawyers who are mediators are required by the Law Society of British Columbia to have specific and detailed training and to continue to do professional development in order to maintain their qualifications.
Using the mediation process has increased significantly in popularity not only in British Columbia but worldwide. Why is this so? It is because mediation can be a cheaper, quicker and less painful way to resolve your dispute rather than going to court. You can find a mediator for your matter by notifying the BC Mediation Roster or speaking to a lawyer at Hemminger Law Group for a referral.
Written by Val Hemminger, lawyer at Hemminger Law Group Westshore.
Hemminger Law Group Westshore - Lawyers with heart! Providing Family law and Personal Injury law services to the Westshore and beyond (Langford, Westshore, Colwood, View Royal, Sooke, and Victoria)!