What mediators do
Mediators help people involved in a dispute to work together and create a resolution that works for everyone involved.
There are no certification programs for mediators that are recognized everywhere. Mediators come from many different backgrounds. Before hiring a mediator, you should ask for information about their training and experience. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of British Columbia (ADRBC) maintains rosters of qualified civil and family mediators, who meet their training and experience criteria.
Mediators are impartial. They do not have the power to make decisions about the case or impose a resolution. Their role is to ensure that the discussion remains focused, organized and respectful. They are experts in making negotiations work.
A mediator will:
- Establish ground rules for respectful conduct
- Manage the negotiation process
- Help clarify the facts and issues
- Help the parties analyze what they need out of a resolution and help them generate options to resolve their dispute
- Keep communication open and discussions on track
- Be a sounding board, innovator and reality tester
Mediations are usually held in an informal office setting. Everyone sits together. Depending upon the kind and complexity of issues, mediations may take from two hours to two days. Many commercial mediations resolve in as little as four to six hours.