Mediation has the potential to be spectacularly beneficial for those unable to settle disputes and unwilling to take things to court. From business mediation to family mediation and all other types of mediation besides, more proactive people than ever before up and down the UK are considering mediation services for a variety of reasons.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect solution to quite a number of problems, therefore the idea of mediation in general does have its critics. Nevertheless, when you weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of mediation from a purely objective and logical perspective, it is difficult to deny that it is an important service of huge value for those looking to settle disputes.
The Advantages Of Mediation
So looking at the advantages of mediation first of all, what are the specific benefits that make the idea so appealing when it comes to solving various types of disputes?
- Costs – right off the bat, mediation can be an incredibly cost-effective alternative to taking things to court. Exact costs vary a great deal in accordance with the nature and complexity of the dispute and exactly how much mediation is required at any given time period. Nevertheless, when compared to the costs of taking a dispute to court, mediation will almost always be exponentially cheaper. Suffice to say therefore for domestic disputes and quarrels over smaller nature, it simply makes sense to seek mediation.
- Speed – Likewise, the mediation process tends to be hugely faster than the alternative. The reason being that when opposing parties with a dispute to settle seek mediation, they can immediately arrange the necessary sessions for any time and date they choose. By contrast, taking things to court means having to deal with packed and congested court schedules and facing the prospect of delays. In addition, the actual mediation process itself is also much faster than court deliberations.
- Privacy – In the UK, any matters that are brought before the court are in some way recorded and made available publicly. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the biggest issue in most instances, but for those interested in complete and total privacy, mediation guarantees exactly that.
- Simplicity – Another of the unique benefits of mediation is the way in which things are kept as simple as possible. Court proceedings can be incredibly complicated and intimidating to say the least, whereas mediation almost borders on the informal.
- Flexibility – also important to remember is the way in which any and all agreements reached by way of mediation are purely voluntary. As such, there is always the option at any time during the following mediation to make changes to the agreement and to tweak things as and when necessary. By contrast, when a court’s ruling has been put in place it is pretty much set in stone and cannot be altered without another complicated court affair.
The Drawbacks Of Mediation
So while it’s pretty clear to see what the appeal of mediation is, what kinds of disadvantages do critics on the subject voice?
- Outcome – First and foremost, there is absolutely no guarantee that all the mediation in the world will lead to any kind of agreement. The reason being that the process as a whole is 100% voluntary and that the parties involved have to voluntarily agree to any proposed agreements. By contrast, when matters are taken to court this guarantees there will be at least some kind of settlement or ruling made at the end. Even if one or both parties are not happy with the ruling, the ruling will be made.
- Legality – Also on the subject of the agreement reached at the end of mediation, there is technically nothing to say that either party has to comply with the agreement short or long term. Any agreement reached technically is not legally binding and nor would there likely be any consequences if and were the agreement to be broken. As such, there are instances where individuals that cannot be trusted may go back on their word knowing there will be no real consequences.
- Attendance – Of course another of the drawbacks of mediation is that the parties with the dispute to resolve do not necessarily even have to turn up in the first place, or can simply stop coming at any time should they wish to do so. They are not in any way required by law to attend the sessions and therefore may choose not to.
On the whole, there’s no denying that mediation is far from a perfect solution and that it does indeed have its drawbacks. However, as something of a go between that stands between any kind of disputes and the prospect of having to go to court, the mediation service has a crucially important role for so many people.