Mediation is a process of alternative dispute resolution (A.D.R.) in which the two parties of a dispute state the facts of their case to an impartial mediator. The mediator seeks to discover a settlement amenable to both parties by getting at the parties' root interests, as opposed to their bargaining positions. In mediation, the parties retain complete control of their case - at no point will the mediator "settle" the case over the objections of a party.
Mediation is not always successful, but often is, reducing the caseload on America's civil courts.