Choosing mediation to resolve long and complicated legal wrangles is encouraged across the legal sector and yet, in some cases, there can be a reluctance to take this route to resolution. As all parties involved need to agree to mediate for it to even begin, understanding why people refuse mediation is one of the initial hurdles to address.
Flexible, voluntary, and confidential mediation allows negotiations to happen behind closed doors with mediators in place to attempt to keep things fair and unbiased. Mediation can allow parties to come to a solution without having to involve the courts, rather than finding themselves in a position where neither can benefit from the work they have done. Refusing to mediate might result in a lawsuit or legal action that could go on for years, and ultimately cost everyone involved a significantly higher amount of money.
When it comes to cost (which it so often does), avoiding mediation can therefore be a false economy as refusing to pay for it can end up being a more pricey decision in the long run. While dispute resolution might take a lot of time and appear expensive at the outset, the end result achieved through an effective and collaborative mediation process is often an agreement that allows both sides to reach a fair financial solution.
While there is no doubt that mediation plays an important role, not everyone is happy with the idea and value of the whole mediation process. This can lead them to take other routes that simply aren’t as effective, and one of the major stumbling blocks in opting for mediation often comes down to being open to collaboration.
To mediate well requires the collaborative work of multiple people, processes, businesses and technology. Combined, all these factors involve a great deal of complexity over different aspects of the work, and contrary to popular belief, the preferred option of lawyers is to collaborate rather than to remain in conflict. Today, conflict aversion and advocating a ‘collaborative economy’ is a far more cost-effective and quicker route to resolve disputes, and mediation is deemed the best currency.
Typically parties avoid mediation because they believe they will be able to get full control of a project. It might be that they believe they have a good case for ownership of a project, or more nefariously, they believe they have a strong legal team that would be able to win rights in court.
Of course it should be said that it is common for individuals and businesses to assume that their side of the story is the truth and that any legal battle would result in a positive outcome for them. But this is not always the case.
It is important in this instance for the parties involved to take a step back and think about the benefits of mediation rather than the negatives. Legal action is expensive and there is no guarantee of success, no matter what you think about your chances.
Sometimes, business owners make assumptions about employees. For example, if it might be the case that under the company’s employment terms, any work undertaken by employees legally belongs to the business. However, with the rise of technical contractors has created a situation where many workers aren’t officially employed by the business and don’t fall under those rules.
This situation is an example where two parties believe that they can claim full ownership of part of a project. In this case, mediation would likely be the best solution to come to an amicable agreement. Without mediation here, one of the parties might feel that their only option is filing a lawsuit. No matter what you think about mediation, a lawsuit is going to be arguably more expensive and time consuming for any business.
One point that should be made about mediation is that putting it off isn’t a sound solution. While some parties might believe it is in their interest to wait things out, it is important to remember that technology moves quickly. Failing to capitalize on the creation of a product or service is simply giving more time for someone else to come up with a solution, or for the market to move on.
It is always advisable to get to the negotiation table as soon as possible, as this gives you the best chance of getting things sorted quickly and allowing everyone involved to benefit.
Ultimately, when businesses or individuals refuse to mediate it comes from a position of stubbornness rather than anything practical or sensible. If there are other parties involved then they deserve to see at least some benefit from a product, and mediation helps to find a fair and amicable solution.
If you are putting off mediation, you are putting off something that is probably inevitable. So, now could be the time to make that decision and move on.
Perhaps the most crucial thing to say in favor of mediation is that it does really work. When parties undertake mediation they are committing to come to a solution that means that both parties can get something out of the work or investment that they have put into a project. Ultimately, the majority of technological mediation cases come down to people wanting to make money from their work – mediation allows all parties to do this.
Yes, it may be the case that a party receives a lower percentage than they hoped they would be entitled to, but this is a sacrifice that is made to ensure that money can still at least be made without the constant threat of legal action, or simply that products are not allowed to be used because ownership cannot be defined.
There is no need for these issues to get blown out of proportion. Mediation can find a solution that benefits everyone.
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