At a glance

Policy stage: 
Level of involvement: 
Length of process: 
Number of participants: 

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral party intervenes to help others bring their dispute to a settlement.


Mediation aims to assist people in reaching an agreement. The parties themselves have to determine the conditions of any possible settlements. Mediation is effective in defining issues and developing options when participants recognise the need to communicate the conflict. Mediation is one of the tools used by pracitioners of 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' with an emphasis on communication to resolve mutually interdependent, opposing views or ideas.

Mediation should be avoided when disputes are obviously too polarised to achieve a settlement, or when participants are unwilling to compromise or negotiate common ground.


  • Mediation is wide ranging and used by anyone from individuals and organisations to states.



  • This depends on the length of time it takes to resolve certain conflicts. In addition to this, costs include training mediators and bringing people together.

Approximate time expense


  • Time is highly dependent upon the nature of the conflict and the progress that is made throughout.


  • Shows consideration
  • Emphasises communication
  • Demonstrates respect for others
  • Avoids costly alternatives
  • Diplomatic and peaceful


  • Requires trained and understanding mediators
  • Determining what the parties actually dispute
  • Some disputes are two polarised to achieve a settlement
  • Requires flexibility and active willingness by participants which may be difficult to achieve in certain disputes


The activity of mediation in itself appeared in ancient times. The practice developed in Ancient Greece and was also adopted and recognised as valuable by the Roman civilization.


Photo CC0 License Pexels