Mediators represent neither party. They are the grown up in the room. They help the parties come to a resolution that both parties can live with. The parties decide, not the judge. The process works whether its a court dispute or just an argument with your neighbor.
The Advantages of Mediation
From the American Bar Association
You get to decide: The responsibility and authority for coming to an agreement remain with the people who have the conflict. The mediator doesn’t make the decisions, and you don’t need to “take your chances” in the courtroom. Many individuals prefer making their own choices when there are complex tradeoffs, rather than giving that power to a judge.
The focus is on needs and interests: Mediation examines the underlying causes of the problem and looks at what solutions best suit your unique needs and satisfy your interests. Going to court can divide people and increase hostility. Mediation looks to the future. It helps end the problem, not the relationship.
Mediation deals with feelings: Each person is encouraged to tell his own story in his own way. Acknowledging emotions promotes movement towards settlement. Discussing both legal and personal issues can help you develop a new understanding of yourself and the other person.
Higher satisfaction: Participants in mediation report higher satisfaction rates than people who go to court. Because of their active involvement, they have a higher commitment to upholding the settlement than people who have a judge decide for them.
Informality: Mediation can be a less intimidating process than going to court. Since there are no strict rules of procedure, this flexibility allows the people involved to find the best path to agreement. Mediation can deal with multiple parties and a variety of issues at one time.
Faster than going to court: Years may pass before a case comes to trial, while a mediated agreement may be obtained in a couple of hours or in sessions over a few weeks.
Lower cost: The court process is expensive, and costs can exceed benefits. It may be more important to apply that money to solving the problem, to repairing damages, or to paying someone back.