What is Mediation?

When you are involved in a civil legal dispute (in other words, not involving a criminal charge), the option of mediation will almost always be presented. Mediation is simply a conference where you (and/or your lawyer) will meet with the opposing party (and/or their lawyer), along with a neutral third party (called the mediator) to try and negotiate a settlement. Not only is this option presented in almost all cases, but in fact, most of the time mediation is successful in settling disputes before they make their way to a courtroom.

When you are involved in a legal dispute, the reality is that it can easily involve a lot of time and expense. Mediation is an effort to try avoid these costs and come up with a settlement that both sides can live with.

Mediation in Prince Edward Island and elsewhere is often presided over by a judge or some other experienced mediator. Both sides will have the opportunity to briefly lay out their arguments. The mediator will engage both sides in discussions to find some common ground. While the mediator may make some suggestions, it is not their role to make a decision. Their job is simply to steer both sides towards an agreement, thereby avoiding the costs of a full court case.

When you are involved in a court case, it is a very emotional time. Particularly in family law cases, it can be very difficult to get past the emotions of the situation. A skilled mediator will focus on the facts of the case, and try to get both sides to move past the emotion. This is very difficult in some cases, as people will often feel very strong emotions like betrayal, or will feel very insulted and embarrassed by the situation they are in. But a good mediation process can help people get past these emotions and deal with the facts and reality of the situation as seen by a neutral third party. After all, this is how it would eventually be judged in the court room in any case.

When involved in a mediation process in Prince Edward Island, it may still be a good idea for you to have legal representation, depending on the circumstances. For small cases, you may represent yourself, and it may not be worth the cost to have a lawyer. However, when there is a lot on the line, having skilled legal representation can make sure your rights are protected, and that you are aware of any implications from decisions that are made. You have the right to legal representation during the entire mediation process, and when there is a lot on the line, it is a good idea to take advantage of that right.

If mediation is successful, and an agreement is reached, there are still some formalities and paperwork to complete. However, if it is a fair settlement, mediation can save you a lot of cost and expense. It also allows you to start to move past the emotions that may have been stirred up through the process.