Today, Canadians are mediating their disputes in record numbers. One partial explanation for this phenomenon is that mediation purports to keep discussions between parties confidential, traditionally backstopped by settlement privilege. But the extent to which parties can pierce this bubble of confidentiality and use information disclosed in the course of mediation in subsequent court proceedings is an evolving issue.
Generally speaking, mediation is unregulated, which means that anyone may call themselves a "mediator" and any process involving a "mediator" is called "mediation." On October 22, 2014, I read a wonderful eBook by Brandon S. Peters titled "How to Select the Best Mediator." In his book, Mr. Peters makes the following statement, which I agree with completely: "Your success at mediation is directly tied to your choice of mediator.... The three most important elements of selecting the right mediator for your case: (1) Approach; (2) Style; and (3) Background.... Different cases require different approaches to mediation...."
One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree.
The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a St. Louis County ordinance enacted during the housing crisis to help stave off foreclosures. Adopted by the County Council in 2012, the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” required creditors to post fees totaling $450, of which $100 was nonrefundable, to cover the cost of a “mediation coordinator.” Lenders that failed to comply with the code faced potential fines of up to $1,000. The council enacted the ordinance to keep homeowners from abandoning foreclosed properties which might then fall into disrepair. Passage of the bill came at a time when declining property values were taking a toll on county revenue from property taxes. The Missouri Bankers Association and the Jonesburg State Bank challenged the ordinance saying state law guiding real estate lending superseded the intent of the action taken by the County Council. Judge George W. Draper III, writing the majority opinion in the case, agreed with the bankers. Counties and municipalities, the justice concluded, lack the authority to enact broad legislation to address a broad “national crisis.” State law, Draper wrote “limits” the authority of local government to “participate in a mediation program prior to foreclosure … or face criminal prosecution.”
Last month in San Antonio volunteers and lawyers honored the service of Marlene LaBenz-Hough, retiring executive director of the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center (BCDRC). Under Marlene’s guidance, the center has led efforts in combating violence in San Antonio public schools by working in partnership with the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF). The BCDRC was awarded a Criminal Justice Department grant to develop and implement the “Amigos in Mediation” (AIM) Peer Mediation Program. Now in its 15th year, the AIM program helps schools establish their own peer mediation programs by teaching school faculty and students ways to resolve conflicts without violence.
Two thirteen-year old students received a standing ovation from the assembled guests at the recent 20th Anniversary Celebration of the North Shore Community Mediation Center. Hanna Scotch and Michael Woo, two 13-year-old students at the Amesbury Middle School were recipients of the Derek Sheckman Fair Play Award for Youth Mediation. Having successfully completed the peer mediation program in their school, both young teens affirmed that the mediation training has taught them to be good communicators — and especially good listeners —which are among the mediation skills they hope to use even beyond the school day.
I'm a graduate student (Human Resources Development) at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX...currently enrolled in two classes Employee Assistance Issues and Conflict Resolution and Mediation. Your site is a valuable resource for exploring the issue of conflict in the workplace, how to resolve conflict, and how to establish costs both personal and $$ for workers, supervisors, and employers among other topics.
A classmate shared your address with me and since, I have shared it with other classmates. Anyway...just wanted to let you know how helpful your site is to us as we research information on conflict and to say thanks for providing the info you do.
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Fear Comes to School: Mediating Among Parents Around Ebola (11/21/14) Richard Barbieri As medical personnel, emergency aid workers, and diplomatic personnel return to the U.S. from West Africa, schools must manage tensions between local families who are fearful for their own children, and parents who have been at the front lines attempting to stem the epidemic. What mediator strategies may prove useful?
Is Conflict Always Negative (or Where is the Tiger)? (11/21/14) Jon Warner Once upon a time, when we lived among the tigers, we wisely kept our threat detectors on sensitive.1 With no time to think, when seconds might make the difference between having and being dinner, we reacted, and quickly. Knee-jerk made sense as time was usually on the tiger’s side.
Arbitration in Evolution (11/14/14) Beth Graham The arbitration survey conducted by Professor Tom Stipanowich and the Straus Institute revealed current practices and trends in arbitration. This article specifically examines the demographics of the arbitrators and questions whether these demographics are the best for the business.
The Case for Dispute Resolution Clauses in Contracts (11/11/14) Michael A. Zeytoonian I am fortunate enough to have some great clients. They do their jobs well, they run their businesses and organizations well. Because they do things right, I have less “back end” (reactive) work from them because they don’t get many claims against them. That is partly because we work together on the “front end” (proactive) work of anticipating issues before they arise and preventively address them.
Reflections on the State and Future of Commercial Arbitration (11/11/14) Beth Graham What may be most striking about these developments is that, until fairly recently, cost- and time-saving were often regarded as among the leading potential benefits of arbitration and a primary basis for distinguishing arbitration as an alternative to litigation. The growing prominence of these elements as perceived negatives of arbitration is therefore particularly troubling.
Themes in Mediation (11/10/14) Michael Scott Hidden beneath the arguments of a couple in mediation there is a repeating theme. The argument is like Joseph’s coat of many colors. Each disagreement on the surface appears to be about something different, like one of the many colors on the coat. Under the coat, however, there is only Joseph, who remains mostly unchanged.
The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned? (11/07/14) Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes Seismic tremors emanating from London's Guildhall on October 29th 2014 are set to send change-inducing shockwaves, around the international dispute resolution community. It is widely known that dispute resolution's customers, the disputants, have different needs and interests from the supply side of the market such as external counsel, ADR providers, and educators. The shock comes from the initial data generated at this Convention, suggesting just how far out of alignment the supply side may be with the views and needs of the users. Additional data is needed on an international scale.
The Shocking Cost of Divorce in PA (10/31/14) Cris Pastore The added expense of living in two separate households may be obvious in a divorce case, but have you also budgeted for the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer to go to court? Read this article to gain a full understanding of the fees associated with a divorce lawyer and understand why divorce mediation may the better option for you.
Mediation will Get its Foot in a South African Door (10/31/14) Jacques Joubert A fortuitous incident one Monday morning changed everything for two disputees. The two trustees found themselves in the uncomfortable position of getting into the same lift. Without acknowledging each other’s presence they watched the doors close and felt the lift slide down from the 12th floor. It stayed stuck there for two hours - perhaps the most fortuitous two hours of their lives. For in those two hours they resolved a two-year long frozen conflict by talking to each other – person to person.
The Italian ADR Saga: a Machiavellian Plot, or Just Lawyers Without a Plan (10/24/14) Giuseppe dePalo Mediation has long been a matter of contention in Italy. First introduced by a government decree in 2011, mandatory mediation resulted in strikes by part of the legal profession, and was then quashed in 2012 by the country’s Constitutional Court. As the number of mediations dropped drastically after the court decision, in September 2013 Italy re-introduced the mandatory requirement. The country is still in the growing pains of a new system.
Dividing Stuff (10/24/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Most people do not think of their household belongings as assets. It is, after all, just “stuff”. Except, that is, if asked to view the stuff as property subject to division in divorce. Then, suddenly, even the smallest or most insignificant items are seen in a whole new light, indeed take on a whole new value.
Workplace Conflict – Putting It in Context (10/24/14) Jon Warner Many articles on workplace conflict miss out on a key subject area and one which is often best considered first – the context within which the conflict has arisen in the first place. In other words, we cannot consider a conflict situation in isolation from the circumstances in which it has occurred, and the key to its resolution may well lie as much in this contextual realm as it does in appreciating the conflict issue and the people involved in the dispute.
Gender and Decision-Making (10/24/14) Maria Simpson Men and women are pretty much equally good decision-makers when under low stress levels, but “When stressed, men are more prone to taking risky bets with little payoff.”
The Mediator's Log: A Mediation Story - Section 2 (10/21/14) John Sturrock Part 1 discusses a typical mediator's morning, where all of the details of the case and the arguments are revealed. This section, Part 2, discusses a mediator's afternoon, where he uses all of his tools to help the parties understand each other.
Trade Secret Mediation: Negotiating Beyond the Distrust (10/21/14) Erica Bristol Trade secret litigation often involves deep levels of distrust, suspicion, and anger on the part of parties and counsel. To avoid trial, the plaintiff must negotiate with the thief, adding insult to injury. The defendant may express outrage at being accused of theft, and suspect the litigation is merely a “fishing expedition” to uncover the defendant’s own trade secrets. How then can the parties overcome these issues and reach agreement during mediation? This article provides counsel with information and suggestions for successfully mediating trade secret disputes.
Occupy Central: Resolving the Current Impasse (10/13/14) Jody Sin Occupy Central (“OC”) has been promoted as a peaceful civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong where the leaders of OC mobilize masses of protestors to blockade Central District to fight for what they consider as genuine universal suffrage. These skirmishes are becoming increasingly violent, and it is time to find a non-violent end to this conflict.
When You Might Need Mediation After Divorce (10/13/14) Cris Pastore When the divorce mediation process succeeds, spouses and their families often report a tremendous benefit from having chosen the option. However, there are still times when ex-spouses, even if they remain amicable after divorce, may need post-divorce mediation.
Recognition of International Arbitration in Ukraine in Figures (10/13/14) Konstantin Pilikov Arbitration practitioners often put Ukraine below the average ranking of countries in terms of recognition of arbitration. Ukraine’s image of a not entirely arbitration-friendly jurisdiction is “promoted” with common thought about problematicenforcement of arbitral awards in Ukraine. However, in recent years Ukrainian legal system demonstrated significant progress in adherence to the arbitration-friendly approach. That progress had been measured during the study resulted in the research paper “Ukraine. Arbitration-friendly jurisdiction: statistical report, 2011-2012”
Seal It With a Kiss (10/13/14) Michael P. Carbone Justice Antonin Scalia was in the Bay Area recently, speaking to students at the University of San Francisco School of Law. On the subject of trial advocacy he told them that they should learn how to take a complex case and make it sound simple.
Compassion for Your Clients (10/13/14) Sarah Peyton One surprising way to think about trauma is not by measuring the magnitude of the horrific event, but rather by measuring the extent to which the person who experiences the tragedy is left alone with it. This article provides a useful reminder that we can never understand the pain that our clients have encountered, and that we might be providing one of the only safe places in their life for them to discuss what they are going through.
Creating A Foundation for Cohabitation (10/03/14) Halee Burg You are in a committed relationship. You and your significant other desire to live together but are not ready for or interested in marriage. You decide to rent or purchase a property together, or to move into a place one of you currently rents or owns. You are in good company, joining over eight million cohabiting couples in the United States.
Conflict in Start-ups (10/03/14) Jeanette Bicknell From one perspective, conflict in a start-up should not be different from conflict in any other similarly sized organization. And to be sure, some of the same factors that cause conflict in any organization – whether it is a family business or a partnership or a non-profit – can contribute to conflict in a start-up. Yet start-ups also have some unique challenges, and I’ve seen some rather bad advice targeted to them.
Conflict Resolution Day is October 16, 2014 (10/01/14) Donald Lloyd ACR's original intention was for Conflict Resolution Day to be promoted by community centers around the country. The belief is that if the public has a better understanding and awareness of mediation, they will be more likely to hire a mediator. And the more mediators that are hired, the better for all of us!
Defining Mediation: Voluntary Assisted Negotiation (9/26/14) Randy Drew Mediators have historically resisted defining mediation, because mediation can be necessarily amorphic and definitions can be dangerous. However, the world is defining mediation with or without us. Therefore, it is time for us to weigh in on the question: What is mediation?
Experts Predict ADR Will Help Resolve ACA Claims (9/26/14) Chris Poole The use of ADR to resolve healthcare-related claims will increase with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Experts predict the increase will stem from the need to reduce costs as well as the healthcare groups that will bring new disputes for resolution.
Harvesting Data to Shape the Future of International Dispute Resolution (9/22/14) Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes Among the early words of wisdom expressed by Sherlock Holmes was this classic line: "I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." And so it is with dispute resolution. There is a paucity of reliable statistics out there to enable users of dispute resolution services, as well as advisers, providers, educators, adjudicators and policymakers, to understand how best to prepare and steer ourselves for the future.
Models for Use of Mediation in e-Discovery (9/19/14) Steven Bennett Many commentators and courts suggest that cooperative approaches to e-discovery planning hold the key to lower-cost, higher-quality e-discovery processes. Yet, admonitions to cooperate hardly suffice to motivate self-interested parties. Some system to foster cooperation, beyond the parties themselves, appears essential. One system proposed as a means to promote e-discovery cooperation involves use of mediation. This article outlines an array of mediation techniques that could be used for that purpose.
Great Workplaces (9/19/14) Maria Simpson Fortune magazine publishes an annual list of great places to work, and this year, as in many others, Goldman Sachs took first prize. Many people are surprised by that considering the hours and workload, but there are other elements to consider besides hours.
Game-Playing in Negotiation and Mediation: Machiavelli’s Place At the Table (9/13/14) Robert Benjamin While often dismissed as irrational, disingenuous, unethical or “Machiavellian,” game playing strategies and devices are a natural and necessary part of the negotiation and mediation of difficult issues and controversies. If acknowledged and monitored thoughtfully, gaming behavior allows participants a measure of self-protection and provides a lubricant for the constructive, creative and ethical management of complex issues.