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Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which a person independent of the parties and the dispute, assists the parties to identify and assess options and negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute. The independent person is a mediator.
Mediation is an alternative to litigation where a judicial officer imposes a decision on the parties.
The mediator does not decide the issues, they help the parties to work through options to find a solution that is more suited to their interests, and often more flexible than any judgment could be.
As the process is usually voluntary, the parties have more control over the outcome. This can produce better outcomes, and if explored early in a dispute, cost savings can be acheived compared to the expense of legal proceedings.