Mediation is a conflict resolution process in which the parties meet together in a controlled environment with specially trained, neutral mediators who assist the parties to effectively communicate, negotiate, and problem solve in an effort to constructively reach agreements to resolve their dispute.
Mediation is voluntary. Parties must come to mediation freely and may choose to discontinue mediation at any time for any reason, or no reason. Each party also decides freely whether to enter into an agreement with the other party to resolve the dispute; no agreement or outcome may be imposed on anyone at mediation.
Mediation is confidential. The parties agree at the start of the mediation to keep their conversations confidential. The mediators (and student observers, if any) also agree to keep what is said in mediation confidential. Additionally, Vermont law will generally prevent statements made at mediation from being disclosed or used as evidence in subsequent legal proceedings.
Mediation is collaborative. Because there is no agreement until everyone agrees, and no one can impose an agreement or outcome on anyone else, parties are motivated to work together through conflict and disagreement to resolve the issues that divided them.
Mediation is an opportunity for parties to effectively and peacefully address conflict or dispute empowered by their active participation and control over outcomes. Mediation offers the opportunity to leave stressful conflict behind, repair damaged relationships, and conceive of constructively engaging future conflict.