I have chosen mediation, now what?
In our previous posts, we have defined, analyzed and even taken mediation outside the sphere of legal matters, however we have yet to address how legal mediation is initiated in the first place. Understanding the benefits of mediation might make choosing mediation an easy step but can also leave you wondering how to proceed with your chosen path. Fortunately, initiating mediation is just as simple as choosing mediation through alternative dispute resolution.
How IS mediation initiated?
There are two forms in which mediation can be initiated. The first is a court appointed mediation case. When directing a case to mediation the court might also appoint a mediator or a mutually agreed upon mediator might be chosen by the parties involved. At this time each party will submit documents and forms, while paying admin fees as well. After the mediator is contacted, a mediation day and time, which works for both parties, will be scheduled by the mediator. Mediation fees are paid at the commencement of mediation.
The second form of mediation is simply a mutual agreement between parties to pursue mediation without a court appointment. In this case, both parties will of course have to choose one or more mediators to help them through the process. Much like the first scenario, the parties involved pay admin fees to the court before mediation commences and mediation fees to the mediator’s office at the time of mediation.
Is there a difference between the outcome of a Court Appointed mediation and a voluntary mediation decision?
The biggest difference between a mediation agreement reached through voluntary mediation and an agreement reached by court appointed mediation is that the former settles the case, while the latter must still be approved by the court. If the court rejects the settlement the case will revert back to mediation, move to arbitration, or even litigation.
What happens if no agreement is reached during mediation?
In both instances, a case which is not resolved during mediation will go back to the courts. If the matter was initially sent to mediation, it might then be appointed as an arbitration case, or even proceed all together to litigation. The voluntary mediation matter, however, still retains the three options. It may once again voluntarily enter into mediation. The parties in such a case might agree to move to arbitration, or if neither of these paths is satisfying, the case can be taken to court.
Overall, choosing mediation voluntarily, leaves you with much more control over the matter at hand. It is an option worth exploring and may even lead you to avoiding litigation all together.