Mediation is a method of resolving conflict that involves disputing parties sitting down together with a skilled impartial individual called a mediator who helps them work out a voluntary solution to the problem that is acceptable to everyone involved.
A mediator is not like a judge. A mediator does not decide who is right or wrong in a disagreement or tell the disputing parties how their problem should be handled.
During mediation, all parties involved in a conflict explain the problem situation as they see it and present their ideas for how they think the matter should be resolved. Then disputants decide for themselves whether they feel a voluntary settlement to their conflict is possible and, if so, what the terms of the agreement will be.
The mediator assists the parties by guiding them through a step-by-step discussion about their concerns and writing down what they agree to do to fix their problem.
If no agreement can be reached between the disputing parties, or if one of them fails to follow through with a mediated settlement, a mediator will assist by exploring other options for resolving the conflict with them. Options may include conducting additional mediation sessions or having the matter settled by alternative methods, for example the courts, when appropriate.