Differences Between Mediation and Going to Court

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Many people outside the legal world are not familiar with what mediation is and what it involves. It is considerably different from a traditional lawsuit (i.e., going to court) and has an entirely different set of procedures and rules. The main difference is that mediation is handled by the parties in a dispute. This means that, unlike court actions that occur according to the courts’ schedule and a judge, mediation can be done at the most suitable time to all parties. This means that the parties in conflict can even mediate before a case is even filed. Because the parties drive mediation, the process can change to fit the party’s needs.

Another notable difference is that in regular court proceedings worldwide, a third party, such as a jury or judge, decides your case’s outcome. Mediation does use a mediator (a third party). However, that person does not determine the mediation’s result; rather, the parties do. The mediator provides objective and neutral guidance to the parties to help them agree upon an arrangement, not to decide the case and what the parties will do.

Mediation is much less formal and stiff than court proceedings. Unlike the regular court, where attorneys and judges are present and do most of the talking, in mediation, the parties are bartering. While attorneys can be present, it is unnecessary, meaning that mediation can occur with the parties alone with the peacemaker. Because of its friendly nature, mediation can occur at a time that works best for the parties concerned.

Unlike court proceedings, mediation is normally less complicated. When a debate goes to trial, there is often an extended discovery phase, meaning compiling evidence and documents and taking depositions. With mediation, the parties determine what documents are required to exchange, so both parties can make informed decisions. Mediation is not certainly a one-time event. The parties can partake in as many sessions as needed to obtain appraisals, exchange documents, talk to other people or their lawyers, etc. Because of the limited amount of time spent on discovery, mediation can settle a dispute in a much faster time frame than a lawsuit. This could result in real cost savings to the parties.

Mediation is conducted privately. With a usual Court proceeding, the “dirty laundry” is always out in public for others to see, which can sadly cause either party to feel angry, disturbed, or ashamed. Mediation focuses on the future and present, not upon past actions.

Here are the other differences between Mediation and a Court Proceeding

  1. All parties involved must be willing to mediate if the mediation were to occur, whereas, in a court proceeding, the parties don’t have a choice. 
  2. When anyone is summoned by courts, no party can skip it. It is mandatory to attend the court proceedings, whereas, in mediation, attendance is optional. 
  3. Mediation is all about reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion, whereas, if parties pursue a case in court, it is all about what the ‘law of the land’ decides.

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