Since writing my recent short article, Courts Should Make Mediations Good Samaritans Not Frankensteins, I have been thinking about how to maximize the substantial benefits of court-connected mediation while minimizing the risks of coercion.
Most mediators, mediation program administrators, and courts are conscientious about providing appropriate, high-quality mediation services. Unfortunately, with some frequency, there have been reports of problematic behaviors by mediators, lawyers, and parties. The challenge is how to maximize the former and minimize the latter.
Coercion is problematic in any mediation regardless of whether parties have been ordered to mediate. When courts order parties to mediate, the courts have an obligation to minimize the risk of coercion.
This new short article proposes that courts require that standard explanations be provided to parties about the mediation process and their rights in mediation, and it offers model language that can be adapted to particular circumstances.
The language and process for administering the explanation should be developed through a dispute system design process designed to improve preparation for mediation. This article identifies potential obstacles to effective implementation of this strategy. With sufficient commitment, courts, lawyers, and mediators can optimize parties’ experiences of court-connected mediation and reduce their risks.
Take a look.
Efforts here in Massachusetts to enact the Uniform Mediation Act have run aground. Deadlocked over one vexing question - how to define a mediator - the MassUMA Working Group (as...By Diane J. Levin
Commercial mediation is often described as an emerging profession. The word 'profession', however, conveys numerous ideas about the identity of an occupational group, function in society and ethical roles. Also,...By Andy Grossman
International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution The field of mediation is fractured. Although the research on mediation is considerable and proliferating, our field still lacks a basic unifying framework...By Peter T. Coleman