Difference Between Mediation and Trials

Difference Between Mediation and Trials

Is There a Difference Between Mediation and Trials?

There are so many different legal proceedings that it can be hard to figure out the one that is right for you. Some legal matters require certain forums. For example, a criminal case will go to trial, but not be subject to mediation. Among the many types of forums are these two: trials and mediation. What is the difference and when are they used? This article will provide a brief overview of these two legal methods.


Mediation is a voluntary, confidential, and non-adversarial forum. This exists so that the relevant parties can meet and try to resolve their issues with a mediator. A mediator is a neutral person that has no power over the case. Mediation is not about winning and proving yourself victorious. Rather, you sit together with the other parties (and your lawyers, if you’d like) and figure out solutions for your shared problems. Also, everything that happens is confidential. Only those involved in the mediation will know what was revealed and discussed. Those involved in civil lawsuits can choose to do mediation before going to trial. If a result is achieved, the parties can choose to make it binding or not be bound to it and instead move to another legal forum.


A trial is an adversarial process. Unless a plea deal has been reached, all criminal cases must go to trial and cannot be mediated. Civil matters can also go to a civil court. Trials always have a judge, but they can also include a jury, if necessary. A trial will allow for the prosecutor or plaintiff to prove their burden and allow the defendant to present a credible defense. While in civil litigation the judge may argue that both parties were responsible for varying degrees, in a criminal case there is a winner and loser. Furthermore, trials are costly and take a long time. A trial’s verdict is binding and can only be repealed by appealing the case.

Skip to content