The process of dispute resolution via mediation typically involves the parties to the dispute, their respective attorneys and a neutral mediator. This process is involuntary and may even be non binding on the parties. In that, the result could be that the parties may or may not have resolved their dispute. This is the case even when both the parties are involved in the entire process.
However, in the earlier days of mediation, there was just one type of mediation, that resembled and was a primitive type of facilitative mediation. However, in the present day and age there are three types of mediation which can be described as:
Facilitative: is a process that is structured such that the mediator guides the process and assists the disputing parties towards a mutually agreeable decision. In a way, it was a precursor to the present day process in that there was no recommendation made as to the kind of solution or prediction or even opinions from the mediator.
Directive: In this form of mediation, the mediator actively participates in the whole process and being proactive in helping the parties to move towards a resolution of the problem at hand.
Transformative: This type of mediation could be termed as new age since the mediator acts like a catalyst in a chemical experiment. In this form, the mediator encourages the parties to formulate their own process as well as the outcome of the entire process and merely follows the lead. This leads to not only a mutually cohesive and agreeable solution, but also preserves the fabric of the inherent relationship between the two parties and not transforming them into warring or feuding parties in the aftermath.
However, in the early days of mediation, the fraternity practiced and taught just one type of mediation, which was a precursor in turn to the facilitative type. In that type of mediation, the mediator would try and push the parties to a consensus to a resolution by asking questions and prodding them interactively with answer suggesting them to go a certain way.
However, it was found that such a process was resisted by the parties and later it was constituted that the mediators would hold the sessions with the attorneys of both parties as well as the parties to the dispute. This approach helped facilitate better outcomes as well as a sense of transparency, which instilled faith in the disputants with respect to the fairness of the process of mediation.
There is another type of mediation known as evaluative mediation, where the mediator points out the pros and cons of each of the party’s points of view and then coerces them to a mutually agreeable solution. In the face of this, facilitative mediation was criticized earlier with the argument that this type of mediation was a very lengthy process and thus defeated the very purpose of mediation.
However, in recent times it has regained the confidence of the legal fraternity as well as the parties due to the fact that the whole process from start to the end is controlled by the disputants and the mediator merely guides them on the path to the ultimate solution that both the parties will then willingly trod on. In addition to this, this type of mediation makes sure that the parties are not influenced by what the courts may decide and thus they stick to their ground. This ensures that the weaker party is not left to feel that the court will rule in favour of the stronger party.
The best part of facilitative mediation is that in addition to the above point, the clients are sure that the attorneys are not in charge of the process and they do not have to just accept whatever the attorneys tell them. This is because the parties are an active participant to the entire process from the start to the end, and even can decide their course after the possible settlement (if they want to accept the solution or not).