What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential procedure for conflict resolution, where a third objective party – the mediator assists both sides in reaching an agreeable solution, alone and by their own will. Next to arbitration, the mediation is an alternative way for extrajudicial settlements.

Mediation is also called the “golden key to agreement”. Certainly, this alternative method for resolving disputes is the most intelligent choice, because it’s based on defending both parties’ interests and is assisted by a mediator, who by presumption is independent, objective and neutral. Through this method the peaceful resolvement of issues could become your company’s strategy and policy.

Furthermore, mediation is the only one of the alternative ways for extrajudicial settlements that allows us to look into conflict resolution creatively, simultaneously allowing us to also control the outcome of the dispute.

What are the benefits of mediation?Benefits of mediation:
Retains and builds trust and respect in the relationship of the sides;
Saves times, stress and unpleasant emotions;
Is conducted in a strictly confidential environment;
It’s financially profitable and economically efficient;
Is proven to be a successful alternative method;
Is based on the Win-Win method;
Why mediation, rather than arbitration or court trial?The sides choose their own interest and priorities
The sides control the outcome and result of the procedure
The sides define and control the end result, that is unaffected by the will of a third party.
Takes place in a nice and calm environment, in a time, comfortable for both sides.
The sides are assisted in the research of the possibilities and in understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the particular case;
The law gives settlements that are results of mediation the same power as the court settlements have. (In Bulgaria, Law 18 from the “Law of mediation“ grants settlements with executive power).

Procedure and principles of mediation

Each one of the parties in a dispute can address a mediator or a mediation center and initiate the mediation procedure. It’s necessary, however, for the other party to agree to participate, in order to proceed with the procedure.

Mediation is conducted with the participation of the parties and one or two mediators. The parties’ lawyers may also be involved in the procedure. In part of the cases participation of other consultants, experts and other authorized representatives of the parties can be included. In such cases, these individuals may participate with or instead of the represented party.

Procedure of mediation:

The first mediation meeting is usually conducted with the participation of the mediator and the conficting parties. It’s possible for consultants of the parties to participate, as well (lawyers or others). During this first meeting the parties state their positions and discuss the issues between them.

The subsequent meetings may be conducted between the mediator and each of the parties, as well as with both parties again. The separate meetings are a commonly used successful tactic, since during them each of the parties has the chance to discuss with the mediator their strong and weak points, their interests, the possible solutions and the information, they consider confidential. All information, shared with the mediator is and remains strictly confidential.

Conclusion of mediation – before the signing of the agreement the parties may conduct a meeting with the mediator. There they can discuss the clauses of the settlement.

The settlement – the end of the procedure is marked by the signing of the settlement that resolves the disagreement the parties had. This is the usual and desired outcome of mediation. Depending on the subject of the argument, the parties can conclude the settlement in either verbal or written form. If the settlement is in written form the papers can be signed with or withour the presence of a notary.

It is important to know that mediation can end without an agreement. Even in these cases research has proven the benefits of mediation – the improvement of communication; clarity of the issues and the needs of each party; visibility of possible solutions. After the conclusion of mediation, without a settlement, usually the parties reach a solution at a later stage.

Principles of mediation:

Free will – the procedure commences and continues, by the will of the parties. The opposed parties have the right to choose the way to handle the problem. Usually, the solution is such that allows future relationship between the parties.

Strict confidentiality – Everything discussed during the process of mediation, as well as the documents presented during the procedure is strictly confidential and cannot be presented by the participants, not only to other parties, but also to parties, involved in the process of mediation, without the consent of the side, that provided the information/ document.
A garantuee for the confidentiality of the process are the confidentiality declarations each party signs. In addition the mediator does not have the right to testify if the case reaches the court room.

Is assisted by a third party – The mediator is an independent, neutral and objective expert, that assists the parties to get over the tension between them and facilitates communication. The person in that role has to build up communication and evaluate with caution the interests and of each party, in order to help them reach the most profitable and realistic solution.

Quick and effective – the procedure of mediation is usually conducted in one or a couple of meetings, depending on the specificity of the case. Usually, after a couple of meetings, there is clarity, whether the disagreement can be resolved by a settlement.

Economically efficient – Mediation is not only efficient timewise, but in terms of resources as well. The fees, paid by the parties to the mediator are usually smaller, compared to the usual expenses, connected with a trial, which may last for years. Furthermore, mediation saves you the fees, related to a lawsuit, as well as valuable time, energy and stress, which are also linked with the judicial resolution of an argument.

Controlled by the sides, flexible, informal – the procedure is conducted by rules, set up by the parties and the mediator, during a time and in a place, convenient for both parties. The stages and ways of conducting the procedure are under the control of the parties and can be changed, having in mind their needs and the issue’s specificity.

Creative approach, “Win-win” method – the parties define and point out the best possible solution for the argument between them and they are at liberty to modify it and fit it to their needs. Usually, at the end both parties are content with the result. This is the reason why the settlement, reached through mediation is often quick and voluntarily. Furthermore, those qualities presume that the solution will be stable, resistant and long-term.

We believe that with the involvement of a good mediator the sides can find the best possible outcome of every argument, as well as save time and energy, preserve morality and improve their private/ personal relationship.