Mediation (ADR - Alternative dispute resolution) is a process in which the mediators enable the parties to communicate, in order to reach a solution, acceptable by both, and fitted to their needs andcondition.
Unlike other methods (such as court proceedings or arbitration) mediation is relatively short and less expensive, making it possible for the disputing parties come to an agreed solution, without the ruling of a third party.
It is important to note, that dissimilar to other ways of deciding, mediation does not focus on the bare conflict and points of disagreement but rather pays attention to the interests that lies behind it.
This broader look over the situation brings the mediator to a place where he can offer the parties a solution that would fulfill their important interests. This way no side "loses" but both sides come out as "winners" while each of them accomplishes what seems subjectively important and meaningful.
These ways of resolution at consent, can rarely be altered since the parties themselves do not have a need to change, exceed or deviate the agreement they have both accomplished.
The social aspect attained by mediation, whether through the process or the grasp of the method, is the opportunity for the parties to rehabilitate their relationship and start fresh.
Very often, when a dispute is ruled by the courts or by an arbitrator, one party leaves with a distressful feeling. Thus, any chance of future cooperation between the parties is lost. On the contrary, mediation puts forth the method as a tool, which the parties can adopt, in their future relationship.
Mediation is also suitable for disputes already ongoing in the courts, or at their beginning. It is also an appropriate method for social and work environments, where there is a need to create a pleasant and cooperative atmosphere.
A mediation process is relatively short. Usually a few sessions lasting several hours is enough. If the dispute is not suitable or ripe for mediation, it can be observed almost always on the first session, and the parties are recommended to search other ways.
During the whole process the parties have the liberty and right to choose the right path for them. Nothing is forced. The perception is of understanding, identification and the choice of coexistence.
Within the process the parties conduct the negotiation between themselves, with assistance of the mediator.
The mediator is free to act as he sees fit, and can meet with each party separately. If the parties are represented, their lawyers can take part, concentrating on the legal aspects. This counseling can be delivered throughout the meetings or in between.
During the sessions, each party speaks in his own "language". The procedure is simple enough and there is no need to complicate it with legal terms. This way, each side finds space to express himself. Furthermore, the right to end the process at free will and at no sanctions provides the parties to negotiate independently and without fear. This is how agreements, satisfying to both ends are accomplished.
With regard to the validity of a mediation agreement; if the courts transferred the dispute to mediation, a judicial validation shall be granted (upon court consideration). However, the parties can decide that the reached agreement shall be binding between them, and the cessation of the legal proceedings, without such validation. Should the process take place before filing suits, the agreement will have a binding obligatory standing.
The mediator is obliged to hold any information revealed to him by the parties as confidential. Should separate meetings take place, he will not be allowed to disclose it, unless the revealing party confirmed its delivery to any other. Moreover; anything said during the process shall not be admitted as evidence in court, should the case returns to judicial ruling. These conditions are deliberately set, in order to allow the parties to speak freely, and enable the mediator to suggest a suitable resolution of the conflict.
In conclusion, mediation is emerging rapidly all over the world, and for a good reason. This process has many advantages on other dispute resolution methods, as mentioned. The judicial system and department of justice in Israel acknowledges this, and many cases are referred to this framework.