A party to a Mediation cannot be forced to accept an outcome. Unlike an Adjudicator, Arbitrator or a Judge or other Tribunal, the mediator is not a decision-maker. The Mediator's role is, rather, to assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their differences.
When the parties have agreed to submit a dispute to Mediation, they are free to abandon the process, at any time after the first meeting, if they find that its continuation does not meet their interests provided the party gives the Mediator the benefit of an agreed 'cooling off' period with them before terminating the process.
Anecdotal evidence, from practitioners and service providers, universally, in this area, would suggest that parties usually participate positively in Mediations once they begin.
If they decide to proceed with the Mediation, the parties have a hand in how the process should be conducted with the mediator.
In the ordinary course, both the outcome of a Mediation and its existence are confidential. The existence, however, of Mediations which are part of a Court - annexed Mediation Scheme or are prescribed by a Court or legislation will be known to have taken place.
Mediation's privacy and confidentiality allows the parties to negotiate more freely and productively without fear of publicity.
When the parties have regard to their interests and engage in dialogue, Mediation often results in a settlement that creates more value than would have been created if the underlying dispute had not occurred.
Because Mediation is non-adversarial in style and confidential, it involves minimal risk for the parties and generates significant benefits. Many who have used Mediation say that, even when a settlement is not achieved Mediation contributes benefits in that it causes the parties not only to define the facts and issues of the dispute but to put a mirror up to their own assertions, thus assisting in preparing the ground for subsequent Arbitration or Court Proceedings in a more realistic light.