At Hughes & Associates, we have found that both formal and informal mediation can be time and cost-effective methods of resolving disputes over property and business issues. In formal mediation, the parties are brought together within a structured environment where the issues are addressed through a structured dispute resolution process. Formal mediation is particularly effective when regulatory or legal issues are involved.
Informal mediation is a less structured process and can allow more personal interaction between the parties. Where disputes relate to matters of interpretation and opinion — such as the impact of an incompatible land use — the less formal mediation process often results in more creative solutions.
In the less formal approach, the mediator can meet with the parties independently to discuss their respective positions, and then act as a liaison between the parties to find common ground upon which an agreement can be reached. This can also be an effective approach when it is difficult for the parties to co-ordinate their meeting schedules. Once a basis for agreement is found, a resolution meeting can be held to finalize the settlement.