What is Mediation?
Mediation is a consensual, confidential and relatively informal negotiation process in which parties to a dispute use the services of a skilled and independent mediator to assist them to define the issues in dispute, to develop and explore settlement options, to assess the implications of settlement options and to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement of that dispute which meets their interests and needs.
The Mediator is an independent and impartial person in whom the parties to a dispute repose trust, respect and confidence to assist them to negotiate a settlement of that dispute without giving advice, expressing opinions or making decisions for them.
Advantages of Mediation
The objective of mediation is to enable and empower the parties to negotiate and resolve the dispute promptly, cost effectively and confidentially rather than to have a decision imposed upon them by a judge, arbitrator or adjudicator.
Generally, all types of disputes are suitable for mediation provided that all parties and their representatives are prepared and committed to negotiate toward settling the dispute in good faith.
In disputes involving multiple parties/multiple interest groups (generally claims involving more than four parties; i.e. disputes relating to leaky buildings, resource consent/land use, corporate/shareholder issues, neighbourhood/community issues, disputes involving multiple insurers etc), NZDRC provides a co-mediation service whereby two (or more) mediators work together with the parties to mediate the dispute.
NZDRC Mediation Services
The role of NZDRC includes maintaining a panel of highly skilled, respected and experienced Mediators, managing and administering the mediation service, appointing the most appropriate Mediator in any particular case (of course parties are welcome to select and agree upon a Mediator from our panel) and providing support and guidance to the parties, their advisers and the Mediators.
NZDRC's mediation programme includes a Mediation Agreement complete with a back-to-back Confidentiality Agreement for execution by advisers and support persons to parties to mediations and our Fees and Expenses provisions as Schedules to the Agreement.
NZDRC's Mediation Agreement is further augmented and supported by our Mediation Protocol. The Protocol is a necessary and important component of our fully administered mediation service because mediation, unlike adjudication, is consensual and not supported or underpinned by legislation.
The Protocol has been drafted to promote and encourage the negotiated settlement and early and cost effective resolution of disputes by mediation. Primarily however, the Protocol provides guidance as to the rights and obligations of all participants under NZDRC's fully administered mediation service.
A fully administered mediation service
Once the parties have applied to NZDRC for mediation, the administration of the process is taken care of by the Registrars. This means that the parties are not spending time or incurring costs in trying to co-ordinate administrative matters such as the availability of mediators and parties or sourcing and securing a venue. The parties fix the date and we will do the rest and keep the parties and the Mediator fully informed at all times.
Standard Terms of Engagement and Mediation Agreements
Our Mediation Agreement has been prepared in consultation with some of the most experienced Mediators and pre-eminent jurists in New Zealand to produce a standard form mediation agreement for use in every mediation undertaken by an NZDRC Mediator.