Recent research from a University of California law professor shows that the anecdotal evidence supporting mediation usage in civil claims is backed up by hard facts: More individuals these days prefer to at least attempt mediation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution methods like mediation evolved from the high level of frustration that people experienced going through litigation, a process that is known for being expensive, irritating and slow. Arbitration and mediation give parties other options for closing out their conflicts efficiently, and mediation is especially popular because it has saved many people both time and money.
Many courts have taken feedback from attorneys, mediators and individuals who have gone through mediation in order to craft specific mediation programs. Certain cities refer all civil disputes to mediation first and others address specific conflicts in mediation. Mediation has also been used to take a case out of court and achieve resolution where other methods failed. The fact that doing so has also kept legal costs down is just another benefit for individuals who want to end a civil dispute in a meaningful way.
Many courts are simply overloaded with cases, so some of the early reliance on mediation was simply a matter of convenience and desire to cut down on clogged dockets. Over time, however, many cases have gone through mediation with trained and experienced neutral mediators. This results in saving time and money. In many of these cases, disputing parties have shared a mutual satisfaction about the final mediation agreement.
A big part of this is the control aspect, since parties in mediation can help to shape not only the process but the final agreement. Since mediation is nearly always held in a private setting, parties also feel more comfortable throwing out possible solutions. In litigation, however, that is always left up to the judge or jury as far as what the final arrangement looks like. Litigation is bound by the rules of the law, but mediation permits more flexibility.
Finally, the investment of money is an important one in civil disputes. In some civil disputes, it might not make sense to go through litigation and invest a lot of money in attorney’s fees, especially if the amount being argued over is minor or if the parties are not sure of their claim’s success. Keeping costs low is just one of the many benefits that mediation offers for civil cases.