What is Mediation?

Orange County Civil Law Associates Explain Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Picture of a mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), where parties come together to discuss resolving their issues with the assistance of a third-party neutral. The mediator is not a judge; a mediator will not make decisions or issue orders regarding the civil law case. Rather, a mediator is trained to encourage open discussions. Parties who choose to mediate a dispute can have their attorneys with them and can have litigation pending in court while they attempt to settle through mediation.

Our Orange County civil attorneys guide clients through the mediation process and attend sessions with them to ensure their interests are protected. If mediation results in a settlement agreement, the agreement must be entered as a court order by a judge to make it legally binding on all parties.

Can Mediation Resolve My Dispute?

Mediation is a process that can be extremely beneficial to all parties in a dispute. One issue in litigation is a person may feel as though their voice and story is not fully heard in a courtroom. Trials before a judge or jury have heavily regulated rules regarding witnesses, testimony and evidence.

On the other hand, mediation encourages open discussions. Parties are free to speak their mind and tell their sides of a story without rules or time limits. Mediation is also confidential, so parties can offer settlement positions without such statements being used against them if the case proceeds to trial.

Parties are often satisfied with mediated settlements, as they were a direct part of the process. Judges are bound by the law regarding what kinds of remedies and orders they may issue. However, in mediation, parties can decide any resolution they wish without being constrained by legal rules or statutes. Sometimes, the parties are even able to mend their personal relationships in mediation. This is especially important if the parties have an ongoing relationship, such as disagreements between business associates or neighbors involved in real estate litigation or boundary disputes.

Is Mediation Different than Arbitration?

Mediation is different than arbitration, although both are types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Arbitration is when parties and attorneys present evidence and witness testimony to an arbitrator, who makes binding decisions like a judge. Arbitration is a private process and all evidence and documents are private, unlike litigation, which is generally open to the public. Many construction contracts require mandatory construction arbitration.

Need an Attorney for Mediation or Arbitration?

If you are looking for advice about alternative dispute resolution, mediation or arbitration, contact the Orange County Civil Law Associates. Our lawyers can offer their opinions regarding the best pathway to resolve your disputes and represent your interests moving forward.