When is Mediation the Right Option?

It is important to know that not all situations are appropriate for mediation. In the last year, I have done several workshops with the Nova Scotia Community Health Team. The most common inquiries at these public workshops have to do with disputes regarding shared driveways or fences. Many of these participants have already been to court and still, the dispute continues.

For mediation to be successful, all parties must have something to gain by doing it and plus some risk from not mediating.

When all or most of the following conditions are present, mediation is appropriate and a full or partial memorandum of understanding (MOU) can be created:

  • The parties appear to both be willing to try mediation to find an acceptable settlement.
  • Each party can convey to the mediator their own position and the reasons for that position.
  • Each party advises that they feel they can be in the same room with the other party without fear of harm to them or others present.
  • Based on the information gained during the intake meeting, the mediator believes that they can design and deliver a mediation process that will “do no harm”. This includes relevant cultural differences, issues of mental illness or addictions, and the different ways in which each party absorbs and communicates information, among other things.
  • All parties can tolerate a balanced process based on the principles of self-determination, safety, and voluntary participation, as well as mediator neutrality and impartiality.
  • All parties are willing to hear what the other parties have to say and can acknowledge there may be reasons for an “unreasonable” position without requiring agreement.
  • All parties have a commitment to finding a speedy, mutually satisfactory resolution to the conflict.
  • All parties are willing and able to provide all required or needed information and documents.
  • Each party is willing to take responsibility for obtaining all necessary advice, including getting legal advice if the mediator believes it is necessary.
  • Both parties agree they may have to allow the other party time to obtain advice from professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, psychologist and financial planners.
  • All parties are willing to take responsibility for making decisions, rather than relying on or asking the mediator’s opinion as a means of persuading the other.
  • If the mediation involves children, both parties are willing to have the voice of the children heard.

If you are interested in finding out more about mediation and whether it’s feasible in your situation, please get in touch.


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