Mediation is a cost-sensitive approach to problem solving and civil dispute resolution, and can help to avoid the high cost of litigation. Even if a resolution is not reached during the mediation, it can still be considered a success because the parties may be closer to a resolution of the dispute. Each successful mediation rests upon several core values, which include:
- Self-Determination – The parties make their own voluntary and informed decisions, with the support of the mediator who guides the conversation.
- Neutrality – The mediator does not seek or direct the parties to any particular resolution of the dispute. Neutrality is important to the self-determination of the parties in the mediation process.
- Impartiality – The mediator conducts the mediation in an even-handed manner: mediation is not partial, biased, or prejudiced; and, instead promotes respect of each party’s exercise of self-determination.
- Voluntary – Mediation is voluntary, as any agreement reached in mediation is without undue pressure from the mediator or others, and is an exercise in self-determination. As a core value, voluntariness of the agreement is distinguished from voluntary participation, as a court may refer matters to mediation.
- Fairness of process – It is important for each party to feel respected, heard and included, and thereby the parties experience the process as being fair to each of them.
- Confidentiality – Missouri law protects mediation communications. This core value, of confidentiality, promotes candor within the process. Under the law, a mediator cannot be subpoenaed or otherwise compelled to disclose any matter discussed in the mediation. The law further provides that an admission, representation, statement or other confidential communication related to the proceeding not otherwise discoverable or obtainable shall not be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery.
- Competence – The mediator is prepared and conducts the mediation in a manner so as to provide a high quality process that maintains the integrity of the process and is true to the core values of mediation.
In other words, each mediation is a successful process upon the adherence to the foregoing core values by the mediator, and the willingness of the participants to listen, ask questions, and readily exchange ideas.