Definition of mediation

A mediation is a voluntary process of interactive problem-solving by which a third party facilitates the negotiation of at least two people in conflict. The third-party, known as a mediator, promotes communication between conflicting groups or individuals, helps find solutions to their respective problems and sometimes participates in the formation of a solution.

Example case study

Gerald is a TV producer, who has been working with a screenwriter, Jeanne, on a movie script. Their working relationship has deteriorated so much that Gerald wanted to look for a new screenwriter.  However, he had signed a contract with her for that particular production they were working on.  He wanted to avoid being taken to court for breach of contract and missing the production deadline.

He went to the mediation association of the TV industry.  The secretariat of the association appointed a team of two co-mediators to intervene as impartial third-parties.

At the start of the first meeting, one of the co-mediators facilitated communication between Gerald and Jeanne in order to restore the relationship and to help them understand each other’s respective views of the conflict.

Both of them acknowledged each other’s needs, such as recognition of the screenwriter’s creativity for one, and meeting deadlines and adjusting to the script format for the other.  The co-mediators helped each party to structure a possible deal.

At the end of the meeting, the co-mediators summarised clearly the settlement clauses, the next steps to implement, and congratulated both parties for their achievements. The producer got his script on time within the requested format, and the screenwriter was paid immediately, while her original contribution was used in the production. [1]