Facilitative or Evaluative mediation…..Whats the difference?

What’s the difference between a facilitative mediation, an evaluative mediation and an expert appraisal?
  • A facilitative mediator will not tell you what they think. They are independent, impartial and follow a specific process designed to create outcomes. The mediator is in charge of the process and the parties are in charge of the content. The parties design the agenda items, explore those issues and create options to negotiate a resolution. A good mediator will empower the parties to look at their options and powerfully choose a way forward.
  • An evaluative mediator will facilitate a process (as above) however, if the parties cannot reach agreement will provide comments and advice about what they think would be the best way forward, and the parties can choose to follow that advice or otherwise.
  • An expert appraisal will look at all the evidence to date and then make a decision based on that information of what they think the Courts would Order.

The risk with evaluative and expert appraisals is that if one or both parties don’t like the advice provided by that expert then they can still pursue a formal decision in the Courts, prolonging and increasing the overall cost of getting a resolution. Usually evaluative and expert appraisals are significantly more expensive than a facilitative mediation. However, if both parties are committed to following the recommendations or advice (despite not agreeing with it) then this can be a very successful, cost effective way to resolve issues without going to Court.