Mediation vs Conflict resolution

Whatever the topic of your dispute, it’s important that you’re using the most effective method possible to resolve that dispute. That way, the issue can be resolved faster, more cost-effectively and as pain-free as possible.

Today, we’re going to take a look at mediation and conflict resolution. Both methods look to resolve disputes away from the courtroom, and there are some subtle yet key differences – each with their own benefits and drawbacks. By the end of this short but detailed article, you’ll have a clear idea on which route can help you resolve your issues so you can finally put your dispute behind you. Let’s have a look!

What is mediation?

Mediation calls upon an independent third party to oversee negotiations – whatever the topic of your dispute. Their job isn’t to decide who or what is right – it’s their job to guide negotiations towards a successful conclusion. It’s a voluntary process (unless ordered by the courts), so both parties need to be willing to enter mediation before you can work with the mediator to resolve matters.

Is my case suitable for mediation?

More often than not, the answer will be yes. Mediation covers a whole host of different cases – anything from divorce and family disputes to workplace issues and business disagreements. If you’re in the midst of an ongoing dispute that’s hit a stalemate, and an agreement seems impossible, mediation is an option worth exploring.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Leaning on a negotiation expert is the first major benefit. Their job is solely focused on helping you resolve matters, and their experience, know-how and dedication to a successful outcome for all involved means a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders. They’re impartial too – the mediator isn’t here to pick sides or decide who or what is right.

Another major benefit is being able to resolve your dispute quickly – sometimes, disagreements can drag on for weeks, months or even years, and after a while negotiations start to take their toll. By drafting in an impartial third party, you’re calling on their experience in resolving matters just like yours, and it’s not unusual for disputes to be resolved in one day.

Mediation is also cheaper than going through the legal system. There is a set, one-time fee that both parties split and once that’s paid, there aren’t any recurring costs to worry about. You can pay for a solicitor to be present during mediation if you’d like to, but by no means are you obligated to. If money is an important factor, mediation is worth considering.

What is conflict resolution?

Disagreements happen, especially when there’s a lot on the line for those involved in the conflict. Conflict resolution, in its broadest sense, is about working towards an outcome that manages an issue in a way that each party is happy with. Where mediation is the term for a specific process, conflict resolution covers a broader range of dispute resolution methods.

Is my case suitable for conflict resolution?

If you have an ongoing conflict that you’re looking to end, then absolutely. Whether your case is relating to work, business, divorce, family issues or other, conflict resolution will help you iron out the details that are causing a disagreement, and keep control of the situation. Often, it’s about controlling the dispute, and making sure that differences are managed over a period of time.

What are the benefits of conflict resolution?

The benefits of conflict resolution are similar to those of mediation: it gives you an opportunity to resolve issues without embarking on an expensive, time-consuming legal battle. You’re using an alternative form of dispute resolution to reach an outcome that suits everybody, and in doing so, you’re putting the power to reach an agreement in your own hands – rather than leaving your fate in the hands of the legal system.

What’s the difference?

You’d be forgiven for thinking conflict resolution and mediation are one and the same. Both look to resolve conflict, both look to do so in a timely manner, and both aim to leave both parties with a resolution they’re happy with – without having to spend time in court.

The main difference is that with mediation, it’s a process. It’s typically finished in a day or less, and you leave the mediation with an agreement in place and the matter resolved – once and for all.

With conflict resolution, the process is often ongoing. If, for example, your dispute is regarding your children or assets after a divorce, conflict resolution may go on for months. You’re likely to meet each week or month, talk about various aspects of your dispute and manage things periodically. It’s largely about managing your differences, rather than resolving them definitively.

Trusted Resources for Further Information:

Civil Mediation Council – The Civil Mediation Council is a recognized authority in the field of mediation. Their website offers resources, including a directory of qualified mediators, to help you find a mediator suitable for your specific dispute:

Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) – The official UK government website provides information on MIAMs, which are often a required step before going to court for certain family law disputes. Learn about the process and find a qualified mediator near you:

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) – CEDR is an internationally recognized organization specializing in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Their website offers resources, training, and access to qualified mediators:

Law Society – The Law Society provides information on various dispute resolution methods, including mediation and arbitration. Their website offers guidance on finding accredited mediators and understanding the benefits of mediation:

Remember, while these resources can provide valuable information, it’s essential to consult with a qualified mediator or conflict resolution specialist for personalized advice regarding your specific dispute. They can guide you through the process, explain your options, and help you make informed decisions.

Final thoughts

As you’ve seen, conflict resolution and mediation are very similar, with just a couple of minor differences. Mediation tends to be quicker, more cost-effective and is overseen by a trusted third party. Conflict resolution tends to focus on managing conflict (often with a third party too!) with the idea being that at some point, there will be a breakthrough in discussions and you can work towards a conclusion eventually.
If you have any questions about conflict resolution or mediation or would like advice on which of the two are most suitable for your case, you can get in touch. Or find out more about our Mediation services here

Regan Peggs
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