Depending on the complexity and nature of the issue, you could make do with just a mediator. In other cases, a lawyer would make more sense.
Naturally, mediators and lawyers play different roles.
Put simply, lawyers represent your interests as a client and will advise on the best course of action based on your position and circumstance. Lawyers have the advantage of discussing probable outcomes of a case should you wind up in court along with techniques of achieving the outcome you wish to obtain.
In contrast, mediators do not provide legal advice nor do they represent either party to the disputed. Mediators may be qualified lawyers, however, once they assume the role of a mediator, their position as a lawyer no longer applies.
Mediators are purposed to help parties with a dispute communicate with each other to reach an acceptable agreement.
Do I need both a lawyer and a mediator?
Mediation has become increasingly popular to resolve all types of disputes. From small claims to significant ones, such as divorces, mediation seeks a high success rate where qualified mediators are involved and when parties genuinely want to reach an amicable agreement.
Where the complexity of the case is more serious, the more likely you may wish for a lawyer to assist you with the legal aspects of it.
Should you choose mediation, you may not need to engage a lawyer for the mediation process. You may, however, wish to use a lawyer for tasks involving legal rights advice, agreement reviewing, and so on.
The advantages mediation has over litigation
Privacy – One of the significant attractions of mediation is the privacy offered. Litigation is very public where court documents are also publicly accessible. On the other hand, the mediation process is confidential away from the public eye. The only drawback to privacy in mediation is the final agreement needs to be a court order to be enforceable, and therefore is a public document.
Creative solutions – As there are no procedures in place, a mediation setting allows for more creative solutions to be created as opposed to the legal system litigation has to abide to.
Fewer costs – With less court resources taken up, and lesser legal advisers involved, mediation often comes with fewer costs than litigation. Further, the modern approach of online mediation has significantly cut costs with fixed pricing options being offered.
Faster results – The formal procedures of litigation isn’t just costly, but also typically takes more time. These delays are usually at the hands of the court and are beyond control. Mediation, on the other hand, offers more flexibility and control over time management. As a result, mediation often sees faster results compared to litigation.
Is mediation always the answer?
Despite mediation being generally worth considering, it isn’t always the answer.
Mediation is a good solution for disputes that involve ongoing relationships, parties with fairly equal power, and the dispute information is likely to be known by all parties involved. Cases such as family conflicts, neighbour disputes, divorces, businesses within the community, and so on are typically good for mediation.
Mediation is probably not the answer in cases that involve significant differences in power or where one party is withholding necessary information to resolve a dispute and the only way to retrieve it is through a “formal discovery”.
The prominent factor that should help you decide between litigation and mediation is the realistic outcome of the dispute.