Is it possible to learn from litigation? Depending on who you ask, the answer may be yes, no or even a grey area. Litigation, defined as ‘the process of taking legal action’, seems to suggest that once the process is finished the problem is resolved. A punitive focus that seeks to pit one party against the other. The deeper question to whether we can learn from litigation, is conversely a simple one: ‘do we?’
Expounding on this idea we ask: ‘does litigation ensure the ability for a practice to reflect and to learn?’
Mediation works differently to litigation. Firstly, it relies on the opening up of communication, the asking of (sometimes difficult) questions and seeks to act as an impartial mediator between both parties. The benefits of this process, in our opinion, allows a greater understanding of the issues involved, the causes of the complaint and how to achieve an outcome that is positive all involved.
Going beyond the immediate benefit that mediation can provide, it is interesting to see what this can mean in real world terms for the practice and how its process works. Touching on the points raised above we will break down how the two areas can lead to building better processes and learning from the issue.
By establishing a dialogue, mediation allows both parties to come together to resolve a dispute. Communication is a fundamental part of the process allowing both sides to identify and understand the issue. Communication can often unearth issues that, upon first glance, may not have seemed to be key in the dispute but certainly contributed to it. By fully understanding the issues involved, a practice can seek to learn from what seemingly small detail caused the dispute and thus ensure that a process can be created to avoid such issues going forward.
Mediation can often involve asking difficult questions, and it is in the asking of such questions that resolution can be achieved. What’s more, much like communication, asking questions in mediation through a neutral, third party like the VCMS allows the heart of the matter to be reached. We believe that mediation offers a more comprehensive, solution-focused outcome rather than a punitive focus such as litigation, which seeks to gather more information. By gathering more information through our processes, we are able to support a practice in learning from the problem, installing practices and thus reducing the chances of it happening again.
For more information on our mediation services, contact our teams directly via 0345 040 5834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.