“I’m a lawyer – it’s in my DNA to go to Court” – why this doesn’t always hold true

Mediation and litigation advocacy are two different approaches to resolving disputes, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these differences is crucial when it comes to choosing the best approach for your particular situation.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that involves a neutral third party, the mediator, helping parties in a dispute communicate and reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator does not make a decision, but instead facilitates discussions, explores interests, and generates options for resolution. Mediation is often used in situations where parties want to maintain their relationship, avoid the time and expense of litigation, or seek a more flexible and creative solution.

One of the main benefits of mediation is that it allows parties to have greater control over the outcome. In mediation, parties work together with the mediator to find a mutually acceptable solution that meets their interests and needs. This collaborative approach can often lead to more satisfying and longer-lasting resolutions.

Another benefit of mediation is that it is generally a faster and less expensive process than litigation. Mediation sessions can often be scheduled within a matter of weeks and are usually completed in one day. In contrast, litigation can take months or even years to complete, and the costs can be substantial.

Mediation also offers the benefit of confidentiality. Mediations are generally confidential, meaning that the discussions and proposals made during the mediation process cannot be used in court. This allows parties to be more open and honest in their discussions without fear of their words being used against them in court.

Litigation advocacy, on the other hand, involves representing a party in a legal dispute through the court system. This can include filing a lawsuit, presenting evidence, and arguing the case in front of a judge or jury. Litigation is an adversarial process where each party tries to persuade the court to rule in their favour based on legal precedent, statutes, and facts.

One of the main benefits of litigation advocacy is that it provides a clear and binding resolution. In litigation, the court makes a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented, and the parties are legally bound to follow that decision. This can be particularly important in situations where the parties have a significant disagreement that cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation.

However, litigation can also be a slow and expensive process. Litigation often requires the services of attorneys, expert witnesses, and other professionals, which can drive up costs. Additionally, the adversarial nature of litigation can often lead to a breakdown in communication and relationships between the parties involved.

Both mediation and litigation advocacy are valid methods for resolving disputes, and the best approach will depend on the specific situation and goals of the parties involved. Mediation offers a collaborative and flexible approach that can lead to faster, less expensive, and more satisfying resolutions, while litigation provides a clear and binding resolution but can be slower and more expensive. By understanding the differences between these two approaches, parties can choose the method that is best suited to their particular situation.