Disputes are an inevitable part of doing business. If a dispute is statured as formal and those in conflict are reluctant to commit to litigation or arbitration, mediation may be a viable third option.
A popular form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation, in the words of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), is a process “conducted confidentially in which a neutral person actively assists parties in working towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute or difference, with the parties in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of resolution”.
Providing some measure of mediation’s popularity is the ‘CEDR Mediation Audit 2018’, which states that 12,000 commercial mediations (with an estimated value of £11.5bn) were performed in the UK in 2018 – a 20 percent increase on 2016 – with 74 percent settled on the day of mediation and 15 percent shortly thereafter. Moreover, the aggregate settlement rate of these claims was 89 percent, compared to 86 percent in 2016. In the US, settlement results were correspondingly high, with a similar percentage of parties settling on the day of mediation.
“A mediator assists parties to get to the root of a problem, identifies realistic options and coaches them to explore new proposals for overcoming impasse,” says Dr Karl Mackie, founder president of the CEDR. “The process can bring new energy, focus and structure into a difficult situation, as well as saving companies significant time and money.”
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