What is mediation?

Apr 28, 2022.

Mediation is a voluntary procedure. An impartial third party assists the conflicting parties in resolving their conflict. This allows the parties to find an amicable agreement outside of court, and they are usually very satisfied with it. How exactly does mediation work? And what is the difference between it and court proceedings? Our legal specialist Antonia Weber explains. 

Unlike lawyers, mediators not only represent the interests of their client, but of all parties. This means they take up the interests of all parties to the conflict equally. First, this requires a clear understanding of the concerns and needs of the parties to the conflict. Then the mediator works out possible solutions with the parties in a structured process, whereby the mediator themselves does not make any decisions of their own regarding the conflict.


The art lies in guiding the disputing parties towards an amicable solution that takes equal account of everyone’s interests.


Comparison of mediation and court proceedings

  • Mediation is voluntary
  • The process can be confidential at the request of the parties
  • A few sessions are usually enough
  • Generally, there are lower costs
  • The parties agree on their own best possible solution
  • Both parties are satisfied with the solution (win-win)
  • Binding contract
  • One party takes legal action
  • The proceedings are usually public
  • The court proceedings can take months to years
  • High costs are to be expected. Court fees, lawyers’ fees and costs arising from drafting of legal opinions
  • The court rules in favour of one of the parties
  • Frequent dissatisfaction on the part of one or both parties (win-lose or lose-lose)
  • Sovereign judgement


What disputes is mediation suitable for?

Not every dispute is suitable for mediation proceedings. Mediation is advisable when the parties to the conflict want to have a good and lasting relationship with each other. This is often the case in employment law, family law and disputes between neighbours.


In deadlocked or emotionally charged situations, the mediator can also provide helpful services as a bridge-builder between parties. For example, they can elevate communication to a constructive and objective level. The success rate in such cases is enormously high.


Mediation procedure

  • Introduction: At the beginning, the procedure and principles of mediation are explained. Then the parties briefly explain how the conflict came about. The parties and the mediator discuss what the expectations are and what rules apply during the process. Confidentiality is also discussed, and the division of costs is agreed upon. Depending on this, a contract may be drawn up and signed.
  • Presentation of views: The parties explain their views of the conflict. The mediator collects the issues the parties wish to discuss.
  • Discussing details: The mediator gathers the background of the issues and the needs and interests of the parties. The parties discuss what they want and what is important to them.
  • Search for a solution: Possible solutions are collected.
  • Reaching and recording an agreement: The parties negotiate on what solution is possible and reach an agreement. The agreement is binding and is recorded in writing.


Mediation with our legal protection insurance

In many situations, mediation is the quicker and more sustainable method of settling conflicts. Successful mediation often leads to greater satisfaction on the part of the disputing parties. For these reasons, Fortuna Legal Protection clients have the option of choosing mediation proceedings instead of legal representation. If the mediation does not lead to the desired result, you can still consult a lawyer afterwards. 

About the author

“We would like to raise awareness of mediation as a conflict resolution method. Our experience shows that mediation has a high success rate, and the parties are very satisfied with the outcome of the proceedings.”


Antonia Weber, Claims Legal Specialist at Fortuna Legal Protection

Antonia is a legal specialist and has worked for Fortuna since 2021. She is currently undergoing training as a mediator. She believes that many cases can be resolved by extrajudicial conflict resolution.