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What is the difference between litigation and mediation?

 Who can become a mediator?

Litigation is a dispute resolution mechanism where a third party decides on the outcome of a dispute. The parties will appear in public in front of an adjudicating officer (such as a judge, a magistrate or an arbitrator) to argue their case and furnish evidence and the adjudicating officer will make a decision based on the law and the facts put by the parties to the adjudicating officer. Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution mechanism where the parties themselves agree to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to a dispute with the assistance of a third party (mediator). The mediation process is confidential, the parties themselves are in control of the outcome and the process generally takes a shorter time than litigating the dispute.

Currently there is no legal requirement as to who can become a mediator. SAAM, however, requires that their members have a matric plus 3 years of completed tertiary study and that a legal/psychological background would be an advantage.

What type of cases can be referred to mediation?

Generally any dispute can be mediated, but all parties need to agree to mediate the dispute.

 What happens after the completion of mediation?

How does the mediation process work?

Generally the mediator will meet with the parties, either together or separately, and explore options for resolving their dispute/s, focusing on their needs and abilities.​

 The mediation can result in a resolution of the dispute/s between the parties or a partial resolution of the dispute/s between the parties or the parties are unable to resolve their dispute/s. If the parties have resolved their dispute or have partially resolved their dispute, an agreement is drawn up by the mediator and signed by the parties detailing the extent of their agreement and the terms of the agreement.


That agreement may be made an order of a court.

If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute/s through the mediation process, they will need to resort to another dispute resolution mechanism such as litigation if they wish to resolve their dispute/s.

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