There is no set time for a mediation to take place. It can happen at the convenience of the parties once they have agreed who the mediator should be. Unlike court proceedings, the mediation process does not have a set timetable, which means that if both parties are willing, the dispute can be settled quickly.
Court proceedings are a matter of public record, so a third party can apply for copies of documents filed at court. By contrast, mediations are cloaked in confidentiality and are without prejudice, irrespective of whether or not court proceedings have begun.
Mediation provides a useful forum in which parties can test the strengths and weaknesses of their case. The mediator’s neutrality means he or she is well placed to provide an objective, unbiased view on the issues and dispute as a whole. This allows parties to reflect on whether or not their aims are realistic.
A long drawn out legal process inevitably takes its toll on commercial relationships, as increasing amounts of time, energy and money are expended. Mediation provides flexibility for parties to settle the dispute quickly and in a way that enables them to work together in the future, or to part company on the best terms possible.
Instead of relying on judicial decision, mediation allows parties to retain control over their destiny. They have the freedom and flexibility to craft the settlement terms in a way that suits them. Parties settling disputes on their own terms are more likely to stick to the terms of the settlement.