The Benefits of Mediation


Here in no order of priority are my top 21 benefits of mediation.

In lisitng these benefits I contrast mediation with litigation which involves arbitration or  proceedings in courts or specialist tribunals.

  1. The parties can settle in whatever way they please. By contrast, in litigation the outcomes are limited to those prescribed by law.
  2. The parties determine the outcome. They will not enter into agreement unless they consider it is in their interests to do so. In litigation the arbitrator, court or specialist tribunal determines the outcome. Litigation can lead to win:lose outcomes or even lose:lose outcomes.
  3. Mediation is considerably cheaper than litigation.
  4. The duration of mediation  is considerably shorter than litigation.
  5. Mediation can be arranged and held at short notice, whereas litigation ususally involves delay.
  6. Mediations are private and confidential. Most court and tribunal hearings are open to the public.
  7. Parties in mediaton usually have a choice as to mediator whereas parties in litigation are usually unable to pick their judges or tribunal members.
  8. Mediated settlements avoid the uncertainty of litigated outcomes.
  9. Mediation avoids the adversarial unpleasantness of litigation, including cross examination, and  the fear and anxiety associated with courthouses and courtrooms.
  10. Mediation encourages communication directly between parties, whereas litigation encourages communication between lawyers.
  11. Mediation involves the testing of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' arguments, and hence allows the parties to adjust their positions and settle accordingly. As a general rule, once court or tribunal hearings have commenced the opportunity for settlement is diminished or non-existent, even if a party wishes to adjust their position in the light of the unfolding evidence.
  12. Mediation allows the parties to settle on the basis of what is in their best interests. In determining outcomes, courts and tribunals do have not regard to the interests of the parties, only to the factual and legal merits of their cases.
  13. Mediation allows the parties to settle on the basis of what suits the convenience of themselves and others. Courts and tribunals generally have neither the means nor the inclination to take such matters into account.
  14. Mediation allows parties to preserve ongoing relationships. Litigation tends to damage future relationships, sometimes permanently destroying them.
  15. Mediation allows alienated parties, for example separated couples, to re-establish communication and trust. Litigation tends to perpetrate or worsen alienation.
  16. Mediation can more readily occur without the involvement of lawyers than litigation.
  17. Mediation allows the involvement of whatever persons the parties agree, for example family, friends and other support people, whereas in litigation the right to address the court or tribunal is strictly prescribed.
  18. Mediation allows the parties to consider whatever evidence they agree, whereas in litigation the evidential rules are strictly prescribed and enforced.
  19. Mediation does not give rise to appeals, whereas litigated outcomes are usually subject to the possibility of appeals.
  20. If parties do not manage to settle in mediation they do not lose the option of litigation, whereas once litigation is well underway the opportunity for mediation is usually lost.
  21. In mediation the mediator is able to engage with the parties in a direct and personal manner. In litigation, the aribitrator, judge or tribunal member is  not permitted to to this, and must remain relatively distant and formal.

If you want to know more about mediation and whether you should use it, take a look at:

What is mediation?

What is a mediator?

The difference between arbitration and mediation

Is mediation suited to your dispute?

Do you need a lawyer?

How you should prepare for a successful mediation.