021 671 9322

What is mediation? 

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party (usually an attorney, psychologist, or social worker) assists individuals/families in conflict by facilitating and exploring options to settle a particular dispute.

Mediation is an outcomes-based process where individuals discuss their dispute and suggest solutions facilitated by a professional who understands the issues at hand and reality tests the proposed solutions.

Once a mediator is appointed, the parties attend several sessions with the mediator. During these sessions, each individual will voice their concerns, make suggestions, and explore options for resolving the dispute.

The goal of mediation is to find workable, long-term solutions without having to resort to acrimonious and costly litigation.

What are the advantages of mediation?

  • It is time effective compared to going to Court as a dispute is usually resolved within a few weeks.
  • Mediation is conducive to conciliation and problem-solving – the focus is on the issues of the dispute and not threats made by individuals and/or their lawyers.
  • The environment is non-confrontational versus the hostile and antagonistic litigation environment.
  • The focus is on the interests of the individuals in dispute; each person gets the opportunity to voice their concerns around an issue without the language and structure of a court battle.
  • It is more cost-effective than going to Court.
  • Individuals enjoy a level of confidentiality that is not generally available through litigation.
  • Mediation provides a greater degree of control as individuals are part of the decision-making process. In court, the Magistrate or Judge decides.
  • Mediation is a solutions-driven process and resolution is suitable for family and commercial disputes.

Who is the mediator and what is their role?

A mediator is an independent person who possesses the necessary knowledge, expertise, and skills to facilitate the solution-driven mediation process.

You and the other individual to the dispute will choose the mediator and the choice you make will depend on the mediator’s qualifications, knowledge, and reputation. The mediator is generally from the legal or mental healthcare professions.

The mediator does not represent either party or offer legal advice, but rather facilitates the process by creating an environment for constructive communication and problem-solving.

The mediator manages the negotiations by:

  • asking questions,
  • identifying the problems,
  • assisting to explore solutions,
  • testing the probable success of implementing the proposed solutions.

The mediator sets the ground rules upon which the sessions are held to ensure discussions are fair.

Mediation is voluntary, so both individuals need to agree to refer the dispute to mediation and agree upon the mediator.

How do I choose a mediator?

To choose the right mediator, you must consider what is in dispute.

It is also important to appoint someone that is an accredited mediator. You may find accredited mediators on these websites:

Where do the mediation sessions happen?

Mediation sessions usually take place at the appointed professional’s offices. However, where appropriate and as determined by the mediator, sessions may also be conducted online.

Should you require assistance with mediation contact Ashley Curran, accredited mediator and family law specialist, on (021) 671 9322 or ashley@curranattorneys.co.za.