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FAQ for mediation

 1. Is mediation different to settlement negotiations?

Yes. Settlement negotiations, which the parties conduct between themselves or with the arbitrator are normally unstructured, are heavily influenced by the negotiating position as well as the commercial strength of one or the other party and are geared towards there being concessions from both sides. On the other hand, mediation is a highly structured procedure which identifies all the principal problem areas of the dispute, weighs them against each other and, in accordance with set rules seeks to find the common interest of both sides. In this way, it is possible in most cases to find a permanent solution which is not a compromise but rather is better for both sides then an arbitration award or court judgment.

2. For what type of disputes is mediation appropriate?
  In principle, all disputes can be resolved by mediation. Having said that, mediation assumes that all parties are prepared to question and evaluate the position which they have taken to that point. While mediation in the area of family law and neighbourhood disputes has been around for many years, it is also slowly becoming more common in the commercial arena such that complicated and long-standing disputes can be resolved through mediation. Indeed, most legal departments of large national and multi-national corporations are proponents of mediation. Commercial law disputes, complex disputes under management and pool contracts, disputes in relation to all types of credit agreements and inter-company disputes are appropriate for mediation. Moreover, a mediation is particularly sensible when more than one party is involved in a dispute.
3. How long does a mediation take?
  It is difficult to predict as it depends on the complexity of the dispute and the number of parties. In most cases a mediation lasts for a couple of hours.
4. What happens if the mediation fails?
  Mediation is a voluntary process. If one party calls an end to the mediation, it is terminated. Each party has the right to proceed with court proceedings or, if there is an arbitration agreement, to arbitration.
5. Why should the parties agree to mediation if at any time either party can terminate the process? It would be a pure waste of time.
  Mediation offers a great opportunity: In particular in contrast to court and arbitration proceedings, there is relatively little time and cost involved in a mediation from the parties and it can often lead to a quick resolution of the dispute. Considering the customary duration of court or arbitration proceedings, the minimal number of days or weeks which it takes to have a mediation pales into insignificance.
6. Is it important that the mediator has technical and commercial experience in the area?
  As the mediator does not decide the dispute, but rather steers the process, he or she does not normally require a particular knowledge of the area. However, obviously it assists the mediator to structure the discussions between the parties if he or she can quickly identify with the underlying areas of dispute. Therefore, while a knowledge of the particular area is not required, it is advantageous.
7. What is the success rate of mediation?
  Surveys show that between 70 to 80% of all mediations are successful.