Role of the Mediator
In contrast to a judge or arbitrator who has decision-making power, the mediator does not resolve the dispute. The mediator's job is to help the parties raise difficult issues, identify their interests, improve communication and work together to create options and reach agreement. The mediator has no power to force the parties to agree to anything.
Besides not being a judge, the mediator is also not a legal expert, counselor, therapist or even an advocate for resolution. Resolution is up to the parties. The mediator's job is to bring the parties together and help them to communicate productively.
Starting the Mediation Process
Mediation can occur at any point in a dispute, generally the earlier the better. Mediation usually makes most sense when:
Unless a court or other entity has ordered you to mediation, you will have to suggest it.
An easy way to let the other party know that you would like to mediate is to send them a brief letter saying you would like to try to resolve your dispute through mediation and will be contacting a mediator. The mediator can then explain the mediation process to the other party.
Overview of the Mediation Process
There is no required protocol, but mediations generally follow this format: