“Wisdom denotes the pursuing of the
best ends by the best means..”
Are you engaged in litigation that is ripe for settlement? Do you want a mediator who knows your field? Are you contemplating High Court litigation? Perhaps you are struggling to settle the terms of your family’s estate. Has a tense situation developed in the workplace? Do you long to resolve your differences peacefully, efficiently, and affordably? Mediation can bring about a settlement.
There are many ways to tackle a dispute and to engage in and with conflict. Litigation is not always the best way to resolve issues and in many cases, detracts from a focus on resolution and is not an efficient and effective process.
As of 9 March 2020, parties are required to consider mediation for every new matter instituted in a High Court of South Africa. Non-compliance with this new rule could result in a party receiving an “irregular step” notice This could significantly delay the finalisation of a matter, and lead to unnecessary costs.
Mediation is fast becoming the preferred means of dealing with disputes.
The amount of time to mediate a successful outcome can vary. Cases can often be settled in a few hours over a single session. However, some cases take more time. This all depends on the parties’ tolerance for each other, their willingness to listen, and their willingness to actively participate in the negotiation. Once resolution is reached we follow through with recording the agreement in writing for signature by the parties to ensure all concerns are satisfactorily resolved.
We begin charging for our services only after both parties have agreed to mediate.
In addition to our professional experience, many of our panellist have undergone intensive mediation training and have an ongoing commitment to the evolution and refinement of mediation practices. What this means for you is access to professionals with the precise skills and expertise you need to help settle your case.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a structured and facilitated process in which parties in conflict work with a neutral mediator to negotiate a mutually acceptable outcome.
How is this achieved?
A mediator creates a space in which two or more disputing parties are able to listen to each other in a new way and jointly arrive at their own solution. The role of the mediator is therefore to be a facilitator of communication. The mediator’s task is to enable the parties to listen to each other on a deeper level than their previous hostile attitudes allowed. A mediator must ensure that the parties have heard each other adequately, and that each has developed sufficient understanding of the other’s perceptions, motivations and interests. Improved listening then leads to better mutual understanding, which strengthens the imperative to reach an inclusive solution, as far as possible taking the interests of all parties into consideration. In order to achieve these objectives, the mediation process is served by a basic procedural structure. This includes the establishment of process ground rules by the parties themselves, ample time for storytelling, uninterrupted time for each side to state their perceptions and feelings, and joint problem solving. In this way, mediation enables parties to retain their self-respect and the outcome is generally more sustainable.
When to use mediation?
Mediation is an extremely useful tool in situations where parties need to cooperate in future because the level of interdependence is high. It is also highly appropriate in conflicts fueled by basic differences in values or world views. Under such conditions the emphasis of mediation on promoting mutual understanding and on improving relationships is to be preferred over approaches that rely on other dispute resolution mechanisms.
Is there a role for my legal representative?
Your legal representative can play an important role by advising you, clarifying legal issues, and helping to draw up agreements. We work closely with parties and their representatives to reach the shared goal of resolution.
What can I expect mediation to cost?
Mediators work on an hourly fee basis. It is preferable that the cost is shared equally between the parties. Most cases can be successfully mediated in 10 hours or less over one or two separate sessions.
If we reach a settlement, is it legally binding?
Yes, either the mediation will close with a signed agreement, or the legal representatives for the parties will commit to drafting an agreement from a memorandum of understanding concluded at the mediation. The agreement you reach is reduced to a contract that is legally binding.
What if we can’t reach agreement?
You are free to return to the litigation/dispute at any stage if you choose to do so. The mediation process you have gone through remains confidential. Your mediator cannot be called to testify in court if you choose to litigate after mediation.
“We have thought of peace as
passive and war as the active way of
living. The opposite is true. War is not
the most strenuous life. It is a kind of
rest cure compared to the task of
reconciling our differences…From
War to Peace is not from the strenuous
to the easy existence; it is from the
futile to the effective, from the
stagnant to the active, from the
destructive to the creative way of life.
…The world will be regenerated by the
people who rise above these passive
ways and heroically seek, by whatever
hardship, by whatever toil, the
methods by which people can agree.”
Mary Parker Follett