Mediator Michael Roberts gives the following benefits of mediation *):
1. Economical Decisions: Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation or other forms of dispute resolution.
2. Rapid Settlements: Mediation often provides a quicker way of resolving disputes.
3. Mutually Satisfactory Outcomes: Parties are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed upon, as opposed to solutions that are imposed by a third party.
4. High Rate of Compliance: Parties who have reached their own agreement in mediation are generally more likely to comply with its terms than those whose resolutions has been imposed by a third party.
5. Comprehensive and Customized Agreements: Mediated settlements can address both legal and extralegal issues. Mediated agreements often cover procedural and psychological issues that are not necessarily susceptible to legal determination. The parties can tailor their settlement to their particular situation.
6. Greater Degree of Control: Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome. Gains and losses are more predictable in a mediated settlement than they would be if the case is arbitrated or adjudicated.
7. Personal Empowerment: People who negotiate their own settlements often feel more powerful than those who use advocates, such as lawyers, to represent them. Mediation negotiations can provide a forum for learning about and exercising personal power of influence.
8. Preserving Relationships: A mediated settlement that addresses all parties’ interests can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win-or-lose dispute resolution procedure. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable.
9. Workable Solutions: Parties who mediate their differences are able to attend to the details of implementation. Mediated agreements can include specially
tailored procedures for how the decision will be carried out. This fact often enhances the likelihood that parties will actually comply with the terms of the settlement.
10. Agreements Instead of Simple Compromises or Win-Lose Outcomes: Interestbased mediated negotiations can result in settlements that are more satisfactory to all parties than simple compromise decisions can.
11. Durable Decisions: Mediated settlements tend to hold up over time, and if a later dispute results, the parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative forum of problem solving to resolve their differences than to pursue an adversarial approach.
12. Confidentiality: With very few exceptions (for example, where a criminal act or child abuse is involved), what is said during mediation cannot legally be revealed outside the mediation proceedings or used later in a court of law.
*) Moore, Christopher W. The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, third edition, 2003