As I described in my first article, mediation has been around for a long time. Formalized mediation really started after the Industrial Revolution in the United States in the late 1880’s. The purpose of those early efforts was primarily to resolve labor disputes and railroad issues.
A good definition of mediation is “a process of negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party who assists the parties to pursue a mutually agreeable settlement of their conflict.” The main features of mediation are confidentiality and neutrality. Both these features are essential to allow the parties to open up and be candid with the mediator and protect those confidential conversations from being used against either party in the event the mediation is unsuccessful.
In my next article I will expand on mediation, its pros and cons, and the process.
If you have questions about mediation please email me so I can try to answer them for you directly or through this column.
Retired Circuit Judge and Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator