Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that employs a neutral third party to facilitate a conversation between two or more conflicting parties with the aim of reaching an agreement or resolving issues. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where a trained mediator assists disputing parties in finding a mutually satisfactory solution to their differences.

History and Evolution

Although mediation has roots in ancient civilizations, the modern concept of mediation evolved mainly during the 20th century, especially in the context of labor disputes, family law, and international conflicts.

Key Principles

  • Neutrality: The mediator must be unbiased and neutral.
  • Confidentiality: The process is confidential unless all parties agree otherwise.
  • Voluntary Participation: Parties enter into mediation of their own free will.
  • Self-Determination: Parties control the outcome, not the mediator.


  • Preparation: Parties prepare by clarifying their issues and goals.
  • Introductory Remarks: The mediator explains the ground rules and sets the agenda.
  • Presentation: Each party presents its viewpoint without interruption.
  • Discussion: Facilitated dialogue between parties to explore issues and potential solutions.
  • Negotiation: Parties negotiate a resolution, guided by the mediator.
  • Agreement: Formalization of any mutual agreements reached during mediation.

Types of Mediation

  • Facilitative Mediation: The mediator helps to facilitate the conversation but does not offer solutions.
  • Evaluative Mediation: The mediator may provide an assessment of the likely outcome if the case were to go to court.
  • Transformative Mediation: Focuses on transforming the relationship between the disputing parties.


  • Mediator: A neutral facilitator who guides the process.
  • Disputing Parties: The individuals or groups in conflict.
  • Advisors/Legal Counsel: Professionals who may advise the parties.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Cost-Efficient: Generally less expensive than litigation.
  • Time-Saving: Typically faster than going to court.
  • Flexibility: Allows for customized solutions.


  • Non-Binding: Agreements may not be enforceable.
  • Incomplete Resolution: Not all issues may be resolved.
  • Requires Cooperation: Unsuccessful if parties are unwilling to negotiate.


  • Legal and Civil Disputes: Often used in family law, property disputes, and civil cases.
  • Business and Commercial: Resolving conflicts between business partners, customers, or employees.
  • International Relations: Mediation in diplomatic or geopolitical conflicts.
  • Labor Relations: As a method for resolving labor disputes.

See Also