General Mediation F A Q’s

What is mediation?
How Does mediation differ from arbitration?
For which type of disputes is mediation appropriate and what are its advantages?
At which stages of a dispute can mediation be used?
Who pays the cost for mediation?
Why try mediation?


What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential, non-binding procedure which means that even though the parties have agreed to try and settle their dispute through mediation they are not obligated to continue with the mediation if they do not desire.  This gives the parties control over their dispute resolution process.

The non-binding nature of mediation means also that a decision cannot be imposed on the parties. In order for any settlement to be concluded, the parties must voluntarily agree to accept it.

Unlike a judge or arbitrator the mediator is not a decision maker and this reason a decision cannot be imposed on the parties.  The decision for the resolution of their dispute lies in the parties hands as the mediator guides parties towards reaching their own decision on a settlement of the dispute.

How Does mediation differ from arbitration?
In a mediation, the parties retain responsibility for and control over the dispute and do not transfer decision-making power to the mediator. In an arbitration, the outcome is determined in accordance with the law. It is often said that mediation is an interest-based procedure, whereas arbitration is a rights-based procedure.  In an arbitration, a party’s task is to convince the arbiter of its case. It addresses its arguments to the arbiter and not to the other side. In a mediation, since the outcome must be accepted by both parties and is not decided by the mediator, a party’s task is to convince, or to negotiate with, the other side. It addresses the other side and not the mediator, even though the mediator may be the conduit for communications from one side to the other.

For which type of disputes is mediation appropriate and what are its advantages?
Mediation is an attractive alternative where any of the following are important priorities of either or both of the parties:

  • minimizing the cost-exposure entailed in settling the dispute;
  • the maintenance of control over the dispute-settlement process;
  • a speedy settlement;
  • the maintenance of confidentiality concerning the dispute;
  • or the preservation or development of an underlying business relationship between the parties to the dispute.

At which stages of a dispute can mediation be used?
Mediation can be used at any stage of a dispute. It can be chosen as the first step towards seeking a resolution of the dispute after any negotiations conducted by the parties alone have failed. Mediation can also be used at any time during litigation or arbitration where the parties wish to interrupt the litigation or arbitration to explore the possibility of settlement.  Another common use of mediation is dispute prevention before the incident becomes dispute resolution. Parties may seek the assistance of a mediator in the course of negotiations for an agreement where the negotiations have reached an deadlock, but where the parties consider it to be clearly in their economic interests to conclude the agreement.

Who pays the cost for mediation?
The parties are free to agree to any terms that they both choose but it is recommended that all parties involved pay an equal amount of the mediation cost so eaach party has an equal atake in the negotiation process.

Why try mediation?
For those parties for which mediation is new they may wonder what benefits mediation offers.  Where mediation has been used, there is usually remarkably high rates of success, given its non-binding nature.  One view is that mediation never fails, even if a settlement is not reached, because the parties will always come away knowing more about the dispute and, probably, at least having narrowed the issues in question.  In addition, the commitment to mediation also involves a low risk; the parties remain always in control of the dispute; ach party may terminate the mediation at any stage if it feels the mediation is not making any progress. The commitment to mediation is ultimately controllable at all stages.


PRECISION MEDIATION & CIVIL SERVICES SPECIALISTS ARE NOT ATTORNEYS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN TEXAS AND MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE.