WHAT IS MEDIATION?
During mediation, a neutral third party - a mediator - assists two or more parties in resolving their dispute and reaching a voluntary settlement. The mediator does not make any decisions; he or she helps you to resolve your problems so that you are the decision-maker. The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication, reduce conflict, and to assist the parties in reaching their own resolutions. The parties may terminate the process at any time. Parties to a mediation meet privately with the mediator to resolve their dispute on their own terms. Mediation is confidential, without prejudice, and cannot be used in court. The parties are encouraged to seek independent legal advice. Where a voluntary settlement is achieved, it only becomes binding when the parties have entered into a separation agreement.
Mediation is an efficient way of settling disputes, and can be used whether or not the parties have already started another process, such as a court action. It helps to avoid escalating conflicts and to manage existing conflict. Mediators do not provide legal advice or professional opinions, but they may provide general information for the parties.