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Using E-Mediation and Online Mediation Techniques for Conflict

The internet revolution is transforming every field with a speed that is unprecedented. Fields that have followed conventions for millenniums are now becoming entirely different from what they have been. One of the oldest professions in the world, medicine has remained almost the same in its manner of administration since the days of Hippocrates. Yet, suddenly with the advent of AI and its applications in health, the entire field looks so different from the traditional visit to a doctor and a one on one session and further care through nursing staff. Today we are seeing changes in telehealth that allows AI to judge the problems. Nursing staff is being changed vide the telemedicine systems which engage in personal emergency response systems.

Alternate Dispute Mechanisms

Where medicine may have been conventional, the most conservative profession is often thought to be law. However, law has seen its fair share of changes in the recent past as traditional court systems have been replaced by Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms like mediation. With the global catastrophe caused by COVID 19, there is no doubt that there will be a huge increase in disputes. As courts are beginning to open up around the world they are getting flooded with cases and judges are appealing to the public to utilize mediation as a form of dispute resolution. Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, referred to mediation as a 'breathing space' that is required before running straight into conflict. Ministries of law around the globe are encouraging people to utilize the more cost-effective methods like mediation instead of incurring extreme costs.

The meaning of online mediation is frequently as relevant as the contention it endeavors to determine. Mediation is regularly thought of as the last attempt to resolve matters before going into litigation. Mediation is an arrangement between at least two parties encouraged by a settled upon expert or a neutral party. These outside arbiters can bring down the hate and anger in an exchange, cultivate progressively compelling correspondence, help reveal more subtle interests, offer face-sparing opportunities for development, and recommend arrangements that the parties may have ignored.

Benefits of E-mediation:

The benefits that mediation offers are clear and obvious. It's not only cheaper and quicker but also is less stressful which is extremely important in these testing times. Even in fields like clinical negligence mediation is being started for the first time. However, mediation itself is difficult at a time when social distancing and lockdowns are the norm. This is where the approach that medicine took through companies like Locatemotion needs to be taken by starting E-mediation.

At present, companies often use e-mediation to resolve disputes that are of a high-volume and deals with matters where distance is long. An example is conflicts between customers of eBay or Amazon. Yet at this point, the scope of matters being mediated online has extended to incorporate working environment and family clashes including individuals who live in a similar region.

Online mediation is usually done through all electronic means that include emails, audio calls, video calls, and real time chats. Documents are sent via email but usually become a part of an e-discovery process. This online form of mediation offers several advantages over traditional mediation and seven of them are mentioned below however this list is by no means exhaustive:

Mediators removed from having direct personal interactions by the parties are able to maintain their neutrality better and often engage in a better problem-solving approach.

The slower pace of resolving the matter through emails and other written means often result in the parties taking a breather before making emotional statements. They can respond in their own time when they have cooled down.

Mediators have more time to craft better responses rather than being forced to utilize their knowledge and expertise in the exact moment. Better prepared mediators give better decisions.

An online discussion levels the playing field where one party may be dominant in nature or due to class, financial, social, cultural, or physical reasons.

Increased transparency because everything is being recorded. With a record of the emails and reasoning's being given by the mediators the parties can be confident that the mediation will not be ignored in any litigation.

Since the mediator has to clarify the legal position to the disputants by showing the likely court outcome and support it with case law and statue there is a greater burden on the mediator to ensure that the response is skilled.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, it's often stated by communication experts that 80% of communication is non-verbal. These nonverbal cues often end up enflaming the matter rather than resolving it. People spend far more time concentrating on the 'tone' rather than the content of voice. These misunderstandings of non-verbal sparring can be spared if the mediation is taking place solely on factual matters that are presented in text with little room for reading between the lines.

Problems associated with E-mediation:

Despite all these amazing benefits, e-mediation suffers acceptance from the public at the moment. This is largely due to the perception that online mediation may not be rooted adequately in the law. This perception will change with time as courts increasingly give directions to either pursue online mediation or enforce emediation decision. Another concern for larger corporations and the use of emediation has been the lack of security systems. At present, there is no sufficient mechanism to ensure information security that is being presented in discovery. Furthermore, even if information is protected through iron clad NDAs there is the ongoing problem of data security and system security.

As the internet is getting flooded with deep fakes there is a justified concern of presenting contentious disputes on online platforms.E-mediation is a worthy goal worth pursuing for businesses and legal systems for the unprecedented convenience of the litigants. It has its challenges but non that cannot be surpassed by human ingenuity.


Maliha Safiullah

Maliha Safiullah is a Former Correspondent for 60 Minutes, Channel Nine Australia and is a published writer having worked as a Feature Writer for Dawn News, Pakistan.    MORE >

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