Mediation can be defined as assisted negotiations. In mediation, a mutually agreed upon third party intervenes in a negotiation or a conflict and assists the parties involved in the conflict to voluntarily reach a settlement that is acceptable to both. The mediation process is conducted by a neutral and impartial mediator who facilitates and gives assistance to the parties in a manner that helps them to procedurally succeed in their negotiations.
During mediation, the mediator is an intermediary (neutral party) with the purpose to persuade the parties to adjust or settle their dispute. The mediator facilitates discussion between the parties that helps the parties to define their objectives and views of the particular issues involved in the conflict. The mediator helps the parties to set forth their key issues and defined goals of reaching a resolution, and then assists the parties in generating possible options that will resolve the conflict and remove any barriers that could prevent resolution.
Once the parties have identified and set forth reasonable and mutually acceptable options for resolution, the mediator may meet individually with each party and assist in making their interests explicit. The mediator will assist the parties in identifying a number of acceptable options, integrate the options identified, and assist in the development of fair and objective approaches and criteria that will help the parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to their conflict. The goal of mediation is to facilitate a fair process and not for a particular settlement.