Mediation is risk-free. Nothing bad can happen in a mediation unless all the parties agree. If the mediation is unsuccessful, a judge, jury, or arbitrator will never know what was said or done at the mediation.
In mediation, an impartial third-party professional is chosen by mutual agreement of the parties. The mediator has no interest in how the dispute is settled--that is up to the participants. The mediator does care whether it is settled though because that is why she or he was hired.
The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong and does not have the power to order any one to do anything. The mediator's role is to help the participants arrive at an acceptable settlement.
The mediator then convenes a 1/2 or full day meeting at a time and location convenient to the participants. The meeting can usually be scheduled within 30 days if necessary.
Prior to the meeting, both sides are encouraged to submit confidential settlement statements to the Mediator to acquaint him/her with the basis of the dispute. These are not shared by the Mediator with the other side.
At the mediation conference, the participants are the mediator, the actual disputing parties (sometimes with spouses if a personal injury is involved) and their lawyers and, if insurance is involved, representatives of the insurance company.
At the beginning of the meeting, the mediator describes how he/she intends to conduct the mediation and summarizes his/her professional background. She/he then asks the plaintiff or claimant to describe what happened and how it has affected his/her life. There is no cross-examination by the other side. The plaintiff's lawyer and any other participants with the plaintiff are encouraged to say anything they wish. The Mediator then asks the other side to do the same.
After the mediator has heard from both sides, he usually conducts a series of private meetings with the different sides. In those meetings, the Mediator can have frank discussions with the parties about the strengths and weaknesses of their positions and can encourage settlement offers and counteroffers. This "shuttle diplomacy" usually results in a settlement which is acceptable to all participants.
If the mediation does not result in a settlement, the mediator will adjourn the meeting. Many good mediators will follow-up with the parties by telephone to further pursue settlement.
Any agreement arrived at in the mediation is binding and enforceable.
Judicial Resolutions Colorado