What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process of assisted negotiation.
A neutral outsider helps the parties in a dispute by establishing a safe, confidential and respectful atmosphere that allows them to resolve their dispute constructively and creatively. Central to the success of mediation is the expertise of the mediator and the will of the parties to put a frustrating or costly dispute behind them.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is a voluntary process, and the mediator has no power to impose a solution on the parties. This frees the parties to work with the mediator to explore innovative approaches to finding a wise agreement that meets their interests as effectively as possible.
Depending on the mediator’s agreement with the parties, the mediator will assist them by:
- Setting and enforcing ground-rules for constructive discussion
- Setting agendas formulated to allow the parties to bring forward their interests on each issue, without becoming bogged-down in positional argument
- Encouraging the parties to brainstorm creative options in a risk-free environment
- Advising the parties as to how they might bring new resources and information to the table that can speed up resolution of the dispute
- Offering a confidential ear and advice in private caucuses with each party as to how they might address challenging issues constructively
- If requested, recording and monitoring undertakings made by the parties in the course of the mediation to ensure continued progress
Who Should Consider Mediation?
The services of a professional mediator can be particularly helpful where one or more of the following elements are present:
- The parties wish to resolve a difficult dispute without harming their ongoing relationship
- The parties realize, based on past experience, that their dispute may be difficult to resolve, perhaps because the parties have widely differing positions
- Cultural differences, imbalances of power or other factors indicate that unassisted negotiation will lead to frustration
- There are several parties at the table, each bringing a different perspective
- Traditional adversarial approaches to the dispute including litigation are likely to be costly, emotionally and/or financially
“Michael is especially skilled at getting the parties away from positional posturing to the place where real negotiations take place.”
“I have had the privilege as Chief Federal Negotiator for Camp Ipperwash to experience Michael’s role as a mediator. The service he provided was both professional and neutral. It was with those attributes and his understanding of the interests of both parties that he guided us to reach an agreement in principle.”