Mediation, quite surprisingly, has been treated as an unnecessary step in resolving disputes by many, even though it has a success record. Mediation participants, as well as their counsel, are reported to have been quite happy and content with this process of dispute resolution. Several factors, starting from maintaining control over the entire procedure to avoiding unnecessary delays and costs associated with the arbitration, have contributed to the success of mediation. However, people have preferred to stay away from it. Certain myths have been barring them from using mediation. Below is a detailed discussion on those myths. Also, this article will be debunking them as you progress.
Myth 1: Court-Mandated Mediation is of No Use
Several people have objected to a court-mandated mediation and those objections have challenged the wisdom of the process during the initial stages of a dispute. The clients and their counsel may put forward several claims like sufficient discovery haven’t been conducted, parties didn’t find the opportunity to talk about a settlement process between them, so on and so forth. Other objections arise when people assume that parties hardly have a say while choosing a mediator in court-mandated mediation or the cost of appearing before one is imposed on reluctant participants.
People who raise objections tend to overlook the fact that that there has been a huge development in court-annexed mediation. Over the last few decades, the growth has been immense as these programs have displayed considerable ability in dispute resolution. This has led to the reduction of load on courts. As per the recent statistics, court-sponsored mediation has been able to come to settlements in over 50% of the disputes.
Myth 2: Only So-Called Elite Mediators Can Charge High Rates
Clients and lawyers, who have experience in dispute resolution, have their list of mediators whom they prefer. Those who are not as experienced might have an assumption that anyone who is not on that list, is not capable to handle complex disputes. As per their opinion, only those selected mediators, who are also known as elite mediators, are worth the money. Consequently, there is a huge demand for these elite mediators.
There exists another myth related to this. It is perceived that well-known and experienced former judges can mediate stubborn issues better than any other. These assumptions don’t seem to have any base as the majority of financial and commercial disputes can be resolved by any qualified and experienced mediator and they don’t charge exorbitantly too. The internet has all the information regarding how qualified and experienced mediators are. Therefore, conflict parties and their counsel would have it easy while choosing an appropriate mediator to resolve their issue.
Myth 3: Skilled Lawyers Hardly Require Mediation
Lawyers are considered to be natural negotiators. There is a common perception that since litigation lawyers are capable of negotiating and settling disputes, there is no need for mediation. While most people tend to think on these lines, they kind of ignore the reality that an experienced mediator can resolve a dispute in probably the most efficient manner. The way they assess the strengths and weaknesses of a dispute can prove to be very effective in bringing the conflicting parties to a settlement.
An efficient mediator is an independent neutral and can dig out creative options to settle the dispute, which the parties might not have even thought about. A mediator, with a never-say-die attitude, can go that extra distance to bring the conflicting parties to a settlement, even in situations where previous negotiations have either reached a dead-end or ended up in hostility between the two parties.
Myth 4: Mediation Doesn’t Allow the Parties to Have Their Day in Court
Disputing parties often consider themselves to be right and the other side to be wrong. They wait for the moment when the judge, jury, or arbitrator will rule in their favor. All they want is to hear that it’s their day in court. (The fact is a majority of civil disputes will, today or tomorrow, get resolved, even if there is no mediation.)
But reports reveal that parties have often found mediation flexible and have been satisfied with the active listening procedure of a mediator. If mediation is put under a broader scanner, it can offer the disputing parties their best day in court.
Finding fault with mediation in the U.S. is easy. But there is no denying the fact that the popularity of mediation will rise in the coming years. Making it better and available in the best forms is the challenge.