WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a consensual, cooperative, confidential process in which a skilled neutral professional facilitates the reaching of a negotiated resolution to various kinds of disputes. The mediator assists the parties to resolve their dispute by helping them to work together, open and strengthen channels of communication, improve understanding, clarify positions, identify underlying interests, and explore possible solutions. The process is supportive and non-coercive—the mediator has no power to impose any particular result, and does not take a position about what is fair or right. Mediation empowers individuals and organizations because the power to decide what is fair and reasonable, and to creatively resolve the dispute, rests entirely with the parties, as opposed to a judge, jury or arbitrator. It is informal, inexpensive, and effective, and avoids the long delays, waste of resources, and emotional drain often associated with litigation. Virtually all kinds of disputes, whether a lawsuit has been filed or not, are suitable for mediation.
THE PROCESS OF MEDIATION
Mediation is a flexible process that is tailored to the needs of the participants. Most mediations, however, generally follow the following format:
A pre-mediation telephone conference in which necessary participants and information are identified, schedules discussed, and questions answered.
An initial joint meeting between the parties and the mediator to clarify the procedures, answer further questions, exchange relevant information, address possibly unexpressed assumptions and expectations, and allow the parties to make a brief statement of the issues.
In joint sessions, separate caucuses, or a combination of both, the mediator will assist the parties to understand their opponent’s point of view, will ask questions to help identify fundamental interests, focus the issues, and narrow the matters in dispute, and will offer guidance in moving toward resolution.
To ensure closure, a written agreement settling the matter will be drawn up when the mediation has successfully resolved the dispute.
Areas that Dr. Huddleston Mediate: