Our attorneys recognize that alternative dispute resolution, like mediation and arbitration, is an invaluable tool, saving our clients both time and expenses. Mediation offers an opportunity in an informal confidential setting to discuss, without argument or cross-examination, the chief merits of the plaintiff’s case and the defendant’s case.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential and informal decision-making process, during which an independent mediator assists the parties to a dispute in coordinated negotiations, attempting to resolve the issue. Mediation may be required by court rules. All parties are obligated to take part in the mediation, but all decisions rest with the parties and not the mediator. If no resolution is reached, the parties typically proceed to court to litigate the matter.
In a civil mediation, both plaintiff and defendant usually make brief statements about their main contentions or defenses. The mediation then usually splits and the mediator meets with the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel separately from the defense counsel and the defendant.
The key to the separate meeting is confidentiality. Participants in mediation are encouraged to give honest answers and give the mediator an idea of the real amount of money that might be offered or accepted in a settlement.
Common Questions about Mediation
Yes, by Supreme Court rule mediation is required in all counties in South Carolina before the case will be placed on the active trial docket.
Yes, the rules of mediation have a specific confidentiality requirement and neither the parties nor the lawyers are permitted to discuss the matters outside of the mediation. In addition, a mediator may not be compelled to testify in any subsequent trial, hearing or proceeding about anything disclosed in a mediation.
The beauty of mediation is to choose a mediator whom both sides trust to be fair, who will listen, who will give advice on the law if needed or give suggestions about methods and ways of trying to come to an agreement. Trusting the mediator is the key.
Know When to Speak to an Attorney
When you find yourself asking these questions, speaking with a qualified and experienced attorney will help ensure you’re making the best, informed decisions.