Disagreements are a fact of life in the business world. Sometimes, even the most reasonable of parties can find themselves at odds with no clear route for resolution. Negotiation is typically the first port of call for sorting these differences. If that fails, the situation sometimes spills into the legal system and is settled through the courts. The good news is, it doesn’t need to be this way. There’s another route to solving these arguments, a solution that’s provided by mediation. In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of mediation for solving business disputes.
What is Mediation
To quote our friends at MediateBC:
“A mediator is someone who facilitates a conversation between two or more people to help them resolve a conflict or a dispute. Mediators are unbiased and will not make decisions for you. They are trained to establish and maintain a safe, confidential, communicative process, and to help participants reach an agreement. The process is informal and private, making mediation much less stressful than court proceedings. And without any costly or lengthy court time, mediation saves you more time and money.
The Benefits of Mediation
In British Columbia, anyone can call themselves a mediator. Make sure to only use a mediator that’s been vetted by MediateBC. Once you’ve selected an appropriate mediator, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits of mediation:
It’s Proven to be Effective
In 2016 alone, mediation resolved over 90 per cent of family, workplace and civil disputes in British Columbia. Mediators are trained to prompt effective dialogue between disputing parties. This dialogue usually leads to quality and long-lasting solutions being reached. A key difference between mediation and going to court is that mediation is private and confidential. Discussion during mediation cannot be used during a court case.
It Won’t Break the Bank
In almost all cases, mediation is cheaper than solving a dispute through the court system. In 2016, the average cost for civil or workplace mediations was $1,700. To put this figure in context, the average cost of a legal action including a two-day trial in 2016 was $25,500 for a civil case. Mediators set their own rates and some even offer a sliding scale based on the income of the parties involved. The costs for mediation are typically split 50/50 by both parties.
Mediation is Quicker
Mediation typically resolves disputes much quicker than going through the court system. The average time taken to resolve a workplace mediation process in 2016 was six weeks. Compare this to court, where cases often sit in limbo for months waiting for a court date. There are also fewer procedures and red tape to be navigated, saving both parties additional time.
Mediation is Accessible
No matter where you’re based in the province, mediators are available locally. On the rare event they aren’t, distance mediation is available. No special language or knowledge is needed to understand the mediation process. In fact, it’s a mediator’s role to make conversations easier to have, not more difficult. Mediation is informal and presents fewer barriers than the court system.