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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a cooperative process that is superior to the time and energy intensive adversarial approach. Mediation offers parties more control over decisions affecting their family, work, money, and other important aspects of their lives. Mediation is a confidential process involving a neutral third party as an alternative to court proceedings.


How Does Mediation Work?

The mediator aids in the examination of the situation, needs, and interests of the parties involved. Applicable information in the form of records and other supporting documents is used to clarify the conflict. A variety of options are created to bring about a settlement acceptable for all parties involved. The parties, not the mediator, make the decision. The mediator’s job is to facilitate the acceptance of an agreement.


What Happens in Mediation?

Parties in conflict cooperatively meet with the mediator who is skilled at solving problems. The mediator helps facilitate the communication process and allows issues to be addressed one by one. The final agreement is decided by the parties in conjunction with their lawyers becomes a binding contract.


How Does Mediation Help?

In the process of conflict resolution, mediation offers many benefits. It saves time and promotes openness and understanding. Parties involved in mediation work cooperatively, not adversarially. The parties control the outcome, unlike litigation or arbitration where a third party decides the outcome. There are no winners or losers. Mediation works because control is given back to the parties involved who can then work together to achieve the best outcome. Mediated agreements generally last longer than those imposed by third parties.


What Are the Legal Ramifications of Mediation?

Mediators do not represent any party. Lawyers are necessary to inform the parties about the law and provide legal advice to the parties involved as mediation is not a substitute for independent legal counsel. The mediator’s position as a neutral third party is to guide the parties toward an agreement.


Mediation and the Courts?

The court occasionally orders mediation. After an agreement is reached, it is subject to approval by the court before it is legally binding. Mediation is advantageous because it is agreed upon by the parties involved rather than being imposed by the court. Many judges recommend the use of mediation as an effective way to reach an agreement.


Is Mediation Confidential?

It is the decision of the parties whether the mediation process will be confidential or not. If confidentiality is desired, this must be specifically addressed in the agreement to mediate. Most mediation is confidential.  Under the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program, all mediation is without prejudice. The only exception is when both parties agree to have open mediation. This is sometimes done in matrimonial disputes as many parties find it useful.


At FairOutcome, all information exchanged between a party and the mediator during a private caucus can be disclosed to the other party at the mediator’s discretion. If a party wants this information to be kept confidential, it must be specified in a mediator’s agreement.



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