Updated: Feb 5
Litigation is generally something people seek to avoid. It's expensive, time consuming, emotionally draining and unpredictable until a judge or jury decides the case, you can never be certain of the outcome. Because litigation is so inefficient for most of us, alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, has become increasingly popular.
Mediation has enjoyed increasing popularity as an important part of the litigation process. For example, in Florida, almost all lawsuits are required to be mediated before a court will allow them to be put on the trial calendar. The reasoning behind this requirement, according to the Florida Senate, is because mediation has proven effective in reducing court dockets and trials, and offers a more efficient, cost-effective option to litigation.
Mediation enjoys such high success rates because the parties are brought together in an environment where they can freely and confidentially present their position in front of a neutral third party. Mediation attempts to limit the issues and put them into proper perspective. Participants often feel much better after having an opportunity to get things "off their chest," and also benefit from hearing the other party's point of view. The neutrality and more relaxed atmosphere of mediation may eliminate the desire to continue hostile litigation once both parties have seen all the issues in a fair light.
Mediation can be used for any kind of dispute; there is no need to wait until a dispute results in a lawsuit and is sent to mediation by a judge. Pre-lawsuit mediation is becoming more widely accepted as a sensible way of resolving disputes before they turn into litigation. Besides being confidential, mediation is relatively quick and inexpensive compared to litigating a dispute.
When the parties come to an eventual agreement, the agreement will be reduced in writing and sign it so that it then becomes a binding contract.
FindLaw, November 2019