Interests vs. Rights
Mediation is concerned with the interests of the parties, preserving relationships, building bridges and restoring harmony between the parties, within communities, commerce, neighbors, and families. In mediation, the parties consider the problem as a joint one that can be solved by looking into the future. Litigation, a highly structured and formal process, focuses on past evidences, facts of the issues and the question of legal rights. Litigation places great emphasis on procedure, adherence to formal rules of evidence, the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable outcome, and other attributes that make proceedings burdensome, arduous, grueling and infinitely protracted.
Economy vs. Extravagance
Mediation is more economical and cost effective in relation to litigation.
Speedy vs. Tardy
Mediation is rapid in relation to the over-burdened courts. Whereas mediation can be arranged in three to four weeks after receipt of the initial instructions from the parties, a court hearing could take years.
Control vs. Out of Control
Mediation is an informal process designed to get the parties, who have the best understanding of the contact and the relationship, involved in finding a solution to the problem. Irrespective of the disputants being represented by council, the mediation belongs to the parties. In other words, they control the process facilitated by the mediator(s). The parties themselves make the decisions and the final resolution to accept the terms of the settlement. Thus, it is the disputants' objectives that motivate and energize the interactive process in mediation. In the litigation process, the decisions are out of the hands of the disputant and their legal representatives and in the control of the judicial system and a third party, namely the judge, who cannot enforce judgment against a bankrupt individual or an insolvent company.
Certainty vs. Risk
Mediation avoids risks against false evidence and the fallibility of judgments. Outcomes in the litigation process are uncertain and the victory for one party maybe Pyrrhic. Mediation allows for disputants to concentrate on the best mutual outcome.
Confidentiality vs. Publicity
The mediation process is absolutely confidential, informal and flexible under a legally enforceable contract; whereas litigation is open to the public that has the high probability of ruining reputations and destroying relationships. Who really wants to wash dirty linen in public?
Tranquility vs. Stress
Stress in a major factor in the litigation process, whereas mediation avoids prolonged trauma, tension and anxiety, since the disputants themselves are engaged in the process and the creative development of their solutions.
Conflict Resolution vs. Case Settlement.
Mediation seeks to resolve disputes and conflicts whereas litigation seeks to settle cases. A mediated settlement is less likely to be influenced by the gladiatorial, adversarial, exaggerated and intimidation of a court process which favors one party over another. Based on evidence, precedent, and law, cases are settled in court; whereas conflicts and the issues that drive the disputes are resolved in mediation which provides the potential for the parties to exercise self-determination to arrive at, agree to and conclude their own creative solutions.