The key feature of mediation is that it is controlled entirely by the parties themselves. They not only choose to enter into mediation, but they also retain control over the process throughout and they elect the terms of the settlement.
Mediation has a number of characteristics and benefits which distinguish it from other forms of dispute resolution:
Voluntary – unless specifically provided in an agreement, parties enter mediation voluntarily and can withdraw at any point during the process;
Private & Confidential – unless agreed by the parties, what is discussed during mediation remains private and confidential. Information cannot be shared and both parties will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the commencement of the mediation. Any information provided to the mediator in a private meeting with one party will be kept confidential unless it is agreed that it can be shared with the other party;
Change of focus – mediation looks forward and end encourage parties to move on from the history and focus on the future;
User Friendly – Mediation is not and should not be treated as a quasi-judicial process. It has a number of distinct advantages over the court process: