About Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute meet in a private, confidential setting, and with the help of a neutral person (mediator) work out their own solution to their dispute. Mediators do not make judgments, express opinions or give legal advice. Instead, they facilitate communication between parties so they can find a solution of their own. At all times the parties themselves remain in control of the decision to settle and the terms of any resolution.

A wide variety of cases can be successfully resolved through mediation such as:

•    neighborhood disputes,
•    family and friends
•    divorce & child custody,
•    parent/adolescent
•    real estate,
•    landlord/tenant,
•    consumer/merchant,
•    work place conflicts & disputes,
•    business and small claims,
•    commercial disputes,
•    contract disputes
•    securities and multiparty cross claims
•    accident and personal injury cases,
•    Virtually any kind of dispute or misunderstanding that involves two or more people may be resolved through mediation.


How does mediation work?

Mediation works because the mediation process:

•    Helps people in a dispute, conflict, or misunderstanding  in communicating with one another;
•    Assists the parties involved in understanding each other;
•    Mediation is not about winning a case, instead it encourages the parties involved to try and find common ground;
•    Acknowledges and respects that each person will have their own point of view;
•    Focuses on the underlying or real interests of the parties;
•    Focuses on both the future and the past;
•    Helps the parties to find creative solutions;
•    Places the responsibility on the parties to decide the outcome;
•    Assists the parties to reach agreements that satisfy everyone’s needs.

What happens after the mediation?

The following outcomes are possible

•    If the parties agree to settle, an agreement may be signed; which will be legally enforceable as a contract;
•    If the parties do not agree to settle, they are free to explore additional dispute resolution processes or proceed with litigation.

Key elements of mediation:

  • Confidential

    – Mediation can help to protect your privacy since, unlike courts or tribunals, mediation is a confidential process

  • Informal and flexible

    – Mediation is not like a court, which is formal and follows strict rules. Mediations allow all parties to express their needs and voice their concerns.

  • Without prejudice

    – The process is confidential; hence, the discussions held during the mediation, propositions put forward and documents produced for the purpose of the mediation cannot be used later as evidence in a court or tribunal. In addition, neither the mediator nor the participants can testify in court about what happened during the mediation;

  • Control

    – The parties remain in control; unless they both agree to the settlement terms, there is no agreement;

  • Safe

    – The mediator is not a judge and cannot force or impose a decision on the parties.

Benefits of mediation:

Mediation has a number of advantages over litigation processes:

  • Range of conflict or disputes

    – Many kinds of conflicts can be resolved successfully through mediation;

  • Successful

    – Both organizations and individuals that use mediation achieve settlement rates of over 70% and participants give satisfaction ratings of over 85% even if settlement is not achieved.

  • Quick

    – Mediation can be arranged quickly and if the parties are available, the formal mediation process usually only lasts for one or two days only. Some cases may be resolved in a matter of hours.

  • Control

    – The parties remain in control; unless they both agree to the settlement terms, there is no agreement;

  • Informal

    – The purpose of mediation is to resolve cases/disputes in an informal setting;

  • Time efficient

    – Mediation reduces the amount of time a client needs to spend dealing with conflict or disputes.

  • Empowering

    – Mediation gives parties control over their decisions and deciding the outcome;

  • Wide ranging settlements

    – A wide variety of settlement options can be achieved in mediation over and above monetary settlements.

  • Economical

    – Mediation is more cost effective in terms of time & money, because while mediation can take a relatively short time, going to court is both time consuming, prolonged, risky, and expensive, requiring immense emotional investment. A speedy resolution through mediation provides closure by allowing parties the opportunity to put the problem behind them and look toward the future.


Legal Definitions of Mediation according to the State Law Of Texas