What is mediation?

It is a voluntary process in which a mutually acceptable third party (the mediator) helps the parties to a dispute to try to reach a settlement.

Characteristics of typical mediation

  • The parties determine the outcome
  • The parties choose the mediator
  • The procedure is determined by the mediator and is informal and flexible
  • The parties may be represented by lawyers
  • The parties agree to the time and place of the mediation
  • The parties share the costs of the mediation
  •  A mediation agreement is enforceable
  •  A mediation is held in private
  • There is no appeal or review
  • The process is confidential
  • The proceedings are off the record and without prejudice

 The role of the mediator

  •  Summarises the needs and interests of each party in relation to the issues in the dispute
  • Identifies common ground between the parties
  • Focuses on shared goals and values
  • Asks for offers and proposals in relation to each issue
  • Monitors group dynamics to ensure full participation
  • Remains neutral at all times , merely ensuring that the process is adhered to

 Some shortcomings of arbitration and litigation

  • Often slow
  • Outcome is unpredictable
  • Very expensive
  • Delivers win / lose outcomes
  • This may be bad for relationships
  • Do not address underlying needs of parties
  • Do not address underlying cause of conflict
  • Give control of outcome to outside party
  • Have an exclusively rights-based focus

Commercial mediation which takes only a few hours is a cost - effective way to resolve disputes quickly, confidentially and to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.

Interested parties are welcome to contact Bill Parker (an accredited Mediator with Conflict Dynamics/ Africa Center for Dispute Settlement at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and a CEDR accredited mediator).

Contact Bill Parker for more information or to book a session at: 021 557 7547 or 082 490 5292