Mediation is an out-of-court procedure for resolving conflicts. Communication problems and emotional wounds are the main causes of conflicts - both in social disputes and in the family sphere. As a result, disputes are often not about the actual subject of the dispute, but about substitute positions. In the event of a dispute in court, the victory of one party often leads to the losing party looking for a new "field of activity" or the fact that the winning party has been proved right gives rise to further conflicts. This is because the unrecognised problem behind the dispute cannot be resolved in court. However, if the actual emotional conflict, which the parties involved often do not even recognise themselves, is resolved by the parties themselves and satisfactorily for both sides through mediation, the risk of a subsequent dispute is significantly reduced.

The beginnings of mediation date back to antiquity. Later - at the time of the Peace of Westphalia - the process was used to establish the treaty on which this peace was based from 1643-1648. The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel based on the Camp David Accords of 1978 was also reached through mediation. Mediation has become increasingly important in Germany since around the 1980s. In addition to solving political problems, mediation can also be used to resolve disputes in the business environment, for example in shareholder disputes or in the context of major projects. For example, the proceedings surrounding the expansion of Frankfurt Airport (1998-2000) and Vienna Airport (2000-2005) have already been successfully concluded through mediation. Since 1989, mediation has also become a successful form of conflict resolution in the day-to-day business of companies such as Motorola. Another example of a successful mediation procedure is the settlement of a dispute totalling the equivalent of €100 million between Hollandsche Beton Groepnv (HBG) and Wayss & Freytag AG in 2000 in connection with a share purchase and transfer agreement.

The high level of acceptance of a solution found through mediation is based on the fact that only the parties to the conflict are involved in developing the results within the process. This distinguishes mediation from court proceedings or arbitration, at the end of which there would be a court judgement with winners and losers. Mediation does not ask about winners, losers or guilt. The mediation process creates new approaches that can include unconventional solutions. The results of mediation therefore go beyond a conventional compromise, which is often the conclusion of court settlements.

Dr. Sascha Schleich