Think back to when you were a kid and fought with your sister over whose turn it was to play with a favorite toy. If you got to the stage of physically fighting, the toy usually ended up broken or confiscated by your dad. Both of you came out losers.

Sometimes your mum caught you before your dispute had escalated. She always said something sensible: “Why doesn’t one of you play with it today and the other play with it tomorrow?” 

Turn the clock forward, and even as an adult, you sometimes need a third party to help you settle a dispute. However old you are, it can be hard to see the other person’s point of view, and easy to believe your way is right. Having a third party can help both parties find an amicable solution.

Taking a business or personal disagreement to court is expensive for both parties and often does not settle the dispute fully because the losing party may return to court to challenge the judge’s decision. 

Mediation is a quicker, cheaper and friendlier way of settling disputes. It’s a way of resolving a disagreement like grown-ups as your mum would have said. You can use it in disagreements of all sizes. For example, the United Nations even recently signed a treaty to encourage mediation in international disputes.

However big your dispute, using mediation to find a solution has significant advantages over taking your differences to court. It can help rebuild trust rather than destroy it entirely. It can allow you a say in the outcome, rather than leaving it to a judge.