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What is Mediation?

Mediation has become a fundamental resource for resolving disputes in Colorado.  A great and rising percentage of disputes in Colorado are now mediated within the litigation path or specifically to avoid litigation.  The courts rely on mediation as a method to secure "the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of [an] action."  There is evidence that the use of mediation saves courts and parties resources and results in less re-litigation.  There is also evidence of higher compliance rates with mediated agreements than with court judgments, as well as greater satisfaction and increased confidence in the judicial system on the part of consumers.  Fourteen years after adopting the Colorado Dispute Resolution Act. the legislature encouraged even greater use of that act, stating, "Much time and money could be saved, the courts would be more accessible, and the public would be better served ...."

One reason mediation has become such a valuable resource is that it works to resolve disputes by focusing on underlying interests.  Although sometimes framed in legal issues, many disputes are not actually driven by the legal issues; they're driven by emotional issues, and, if the emotional issues can be resolved, sometimes the legal issues fall into place without the need for judicial resolution.

(source:  Report of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Colorado Bar Association recommended guidelines regarding unauthorized practice of law issues in mediation approved by Executive Council of Colorado Bar Association January 12, 2007)