Mediators use their experience and professional communication skills during the mediation process to resolve a dispute in the most efficient manner. They aim to bring each party closer together in order to find a successful solution to the conflict at hand which will suite both parties. Once the mediation has concluded to a successful settlement, the terms of the agreement are documented, written and legally binding. They are then signed by both parties and the mediator. All of this usually occurs on the day of the mediation.
Once the agreement has been signed the dispute is then settled. This means that both parties in the dispute can continue with their business, which would include maintaining a relationship with each other if appropriate.
The role of the mediator is not to attempt to control and convince one party to accept the terms of the other party about the dispute. It is also not the mediator's job to then order the terms of any settlement agreement. The mediators role is mainly to investigate with both parties of the conflict and discuss their views and opinions, and hopefully guide them towards a common interest resulting in a feasible solution.
Some disputes can be more personal or emotional, such as a family dispute that has requested mediation, it is the mediator's job to then find a way to get past these emotions by creating appropriate conditions and environments that will encourage a constructive negotiation to take place. When an agreement has been reached by both parties, the mediator will work very quickly with both parties and their legal advisers to draft the final legally binding agreement for the parties to sign. This will then bring the dispute and any further court proceedings to a halt.
If an agreement cannot be reached by both parties by the end of the mediation day, the mediator will then outline with the parties the key factors that still need to be addressed for further negotiate in the future. The mediation process is meant to take place over one whole day with the sole purpose of an agreement being reached by the end it. However, more complex cases may need further days to resolve a dispute. If this is the case then the mediation will be able to continue through to the next day or the next possible date for both parties, their legal advisers and the mediator.