Mediation and Conciliation
Conciliation and mediation are two terms used to describe a way of managing and resolving a conflict, with the people concerned themselves finding a workable solution, as an alternative dispute resolution process, rather than resorting to using the court process.
In both cases, a neutral third party such as a lawyer or qualified mediator, seeks to help two or more opposing sides find a suitable resolution to a conflict. In some cases, the differences between conciliation and mediation definitions will determine how that neutral third-party acts.
The mediator will work with the parties who are in conflict or dispute to reach consensus on issues and build trust in the mediation process. Participating in the mediation or conciliation process is completely voluntary. The parties must each agree to participate in the process.
The mediator will take care to ensure that any mediation meeting will involve all the parties concerned, including, if desirable, wider family and whanau; the venue is neutral but somewhere where all parties are comfortable, and feel safe; and ample time is available to ensure the matter can be discussed in an open andnon rushed environment.
Often food and drink may be available to provide an opportunity for a break, when everyone can relax and be rested before re-engaging in the meeting.The mediator will help the parties set the agenda for the meeting, and all parties will be given the opportunity to speak if they want to, ideally without interruption or an argument breaking out.
The mediator will look for common interests and ground of agreement, and build from there.Often mediation is used as a way of resolving family issues, involving children. In family disputes over children, the mediator will ask all the adults present to remember that the welfare and best interests of the child is the most important issue, and they will be encouraged to focus on finding a workable solution or resolution rather than just restating entrenched positions. The view of the children may also be given, either directly or by lawyer advocate who has been appointed to represent them.