Conciliation v Mediation Services

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Conciliation like mediation and arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process, although each process aims to assist parties to resolve a dispute without the need to go through Court it is important to note that all three processes function in different ways.

Conciliation is actually governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation act of 1996 whereas mediation is not underpinned by a statute as of yet, however most mediators including ourselves adhere to the EU Model Code of Conduct for Mediators of 2004.

Each conciliator and mediator operate differently, but generally follow the same guidelines, model of practice. Conciliation generally involves the conciliator meeting parties separately although they can involve parties meeting jointly, the emphasis is on separate meetings, getting parties to reflect on what has happened and what they possibly could have done to avoid the dispute, the conciliation encourages parties to make concessions whereby the conciliator can make suggestions for a way forward and resolution.

This differs to arbitration as it does not fall within the realms of legality, arbitration allows for evidence to be sought, witnesses to be heard an arbitrator making a decision, writing an award, in conciliation none of this takes place.

Equally conciliation is different to mediation, conciliation as established earlier seeks to encourage parties to make concessions, whereas mediation centres on the mediator facilitating a solution between the parties by them negotiating a solution that they come up with, are led to, rather than being suggested to them. 

The mediator will also encourage as much direct face to face contact between the parties, usually through a joint meeting or series of these, although separate meetings are used in mediation the key to usually unlocking disputes, allowing for more speed, accuracy and portrayal of emotion is to keep parties together for as long as possible.

What type of alternative dispute resolution services you require will depend upon what type of dispute you have and if you want someone to suggest a way forward (conciliation), someone to make a decision for you (arbitration) or if you want to negotiate your own settlement and be in charge of the process, (mediation services).

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