In both mediation and arbitration, the parties bring their dispute to a third party. In arbitration, the parties communicate only with the arbitrator, and the arbitrator decides what should happen. In mediation, the parties speak with the mediator and each other. The mediator does not decide what should happen, but assists the participants to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
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Mediation has a very high sucess rate - a recent national study shows that around 70% of mediated disputes reach a settlement. Even when a dispute is not settled in mediation, key issues are identified and some may be resolved.
The best time to mediate is before an issue escalates to litigation. Mediation is obviously more cost effective before a lawsuit, but it can be used before, during or after court proceedings. Mediation can also be used as a preventative measure for conflicts that won’t lead to litigation, but have significant emotional cost.
Mediation sessions are typically 2-3 hours. Complex issues and multiple parties may require more than one session.
Professional mediation services are offered on a sliding scale rate per party and per session. Payment from both parties is required to schedule a mediation. A typical mediation will require one 2-3 hour session. Complex issues and multiple parties may require more than one session. For cases that are particularly complex and difficult to schedule, PDR may charge a case development fee. Please contact PDR for specific case fees.
It is much easier to maintain unreasonable positions in arguments and letters than it is in person with an impartial 3rd party present. Once a party enters into mediated dialogue, polarization and extreme positions tend to fall away and progress toward a reasonable settlement follows.
Successful mediation does not depend on parties being reasonable, friendly, or even on talking terms. If both parties agree to mediate, they have a great chance to achieve a settlement. With years of experience negotiating complex issues, PDR's mediators have successfully resolved seemingly impossible conflicts between the most impossible parties.
The parties do not have to be in the same room to achieve a resolution. In PDR's volunteer work for the Superior Court, they have resolved matters where the parties were under court order to not have contact with the other. As trained mediators, PDR can use a process called caucusing (or “shuttle diplomacy”) where they keep the parties in separate rooms and meet privately with each party. Caucusing may be used for some or all of a mediation session.
Mediation is not a process of universal compromise or convincing one side to give in to the other. Mediation promotes understanding and generates agreement opportunities that neither party could create independently. PDR understands that parties will often have differing perspectives and seemingly unresolvable positions.
A written mediated agreement signed by all parties is enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract. In fact, mediated settlements are less likely to return to conflict because the agreement is made by both parties instead of being imposed on them.
Placer Dispute Resolution offers mediation, training and conflict coaching services to those who live in, or own property or a business in Placer County.