Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a third-party is brought in to assist the parties in resolving a dispute. The third-party, known as the mediator, facilitates discussion and negotiation between the parties and may issue reports and suggestions for how the dispute may be settled.
Unlike arbitration, however, the mediator’s suggestions and reports are nonbinding, which means that the parties are free to adopt or ignore the mediator’s suggestions.
Mediation may be required under contractual agreement, voluntarily entered into by parties in the hopes of avoiding arbitration or litigation or ordered by a court. In the last case, a court may supervise the mediation proceeding to ensure that both parties are behaving and negotiating in good faith during the mediation process.