An arbitration clause in a consumer contract is not enforceable unless it clearly indicates that the plaintiff is giving up the right to go to court, a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Sept. 23. Arbitration is favored under both federal and state law but that favored status “does not mean that every arbitration clause, however phrased, will be enforceable,” Justice Barry Albin wrote in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group. “By its very nature, arbitration involves a waiver of a party’s right to have her claims and defenses litigated in court,” Albin acknowledged. “But an average member of the public may not know—without some explanatory comment—that arbitration is a substitute for the right to have one’s claim adjudicated in a court of law.”
What was supposed to have revived the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – allowing negotiations to develop organically – instead helped kill them, Martin Indyk, until recently the top U.S. peace broker, told JTA in a candid and wide-ranging interview. Speaking by phone Sept. 19 while in transit to his native Australia for the High Holidays, Indyk described the collapse of the talks in April and the opportunities that have emerged from the war that ensued. He also opened up about his own return to the think tank world, where he faces accusations that foreign donors – particularly Qatar, which funds Hamas and other extremist groups – exert undue pressure on domestic policy discussions.
A team of family law barristers will today overturn centuries of legal tradition by being first to offer the public a fixed fee divorce service designed to keep their clients out of court. The team of barristers from Middlesbrough are dispensing with the wig and gown to help warring couples reach out of court settlements over child arrangements and family finances. The decision to encroach on the traditional turf of high street solicitors is the unintended consequence of the government’s swingeing cuts to the family justice system. Following the withdrawal of legal aid for most family law matters, solicitors are instructing fewer and fewer barristers to represent publicly funded clients at court. As well as being responsible for the ballooning number of parents now representing themselves at court, it is threatening barristers with financial ruin.
In their information about the process of divorce, the California Courts recommend that all couples consider mediation. “It is unsurprising that the California Judicial Branch officially recommends divorce mediation,” said Gerald Maggio, a California divorce attorney and mediator. “Right now, California family court judges are dealing with an enormous backlog of cases. And many are divorce cases that wind up up simply as a division of debts because the couple has spent all of their assets on divorce attorneys.” In their discussion of mediation, the California Courts place the most emphasis on the benefits that mediation passes on to children.
A judge in New York has postponed for mediation proceedings a decision on an injunction motion by Getty Images against a Bing widget, which allowed publishers to embed image collages and slideshows from search results on their websites.
Two lawsuits that the Ohio Democratic Party filed with the Ohio Supreme Court over access to public records from Gov. John Kasich and state Treasurer Josh Mandel were referred to mediation Tuesday. The decision means a mediator for the Supreme Court will attempt to resolve the disputes between the parties, rather than have the case go through arguments before the court. If it becomes clear that the dispute cannot be resolved, the case can be moved back into the docket for the court's consideration, a court spokesman said.
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Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.
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.
The Mediator's Log: A Mediation Story (9/12/14) John Sturrock What happens when you are a mediator and you start another mediation day? We have printed below the details of a mediator's typical morning. The sequel will be printed shortly. Read on as the story unfolds....
Mediators, Transformed and Untransformed (9/12/14) Richard Barbieri The French have a wonderful term for a common phenomenon: déformation professionelle. Similar to the saying, “If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail,” this phrase suggests that people see the world through the lens of their work. This article addresses that concern, and helps mediators to remember their clients are people that cannot fit into a mold.
Duologue: Inattentive Conversing (9/12/14) Phyllis Pollack Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris discuss the notion of Inattentional Blindness or how when we are looking at a scene, we may become so focused on one particular aspect of what we are viewing that we miss the other objects or stimuli that are in plain sight. "Inattentional Blindness occurs where attention to one thing causes us to miss what to others may seem to be blindingly obvious. We have a limited ability to focus and attention in one area can distract us from another area."
Shhhh! The Big Risk Associated With Mediation Confidentiality Nobody Talks About (9/05/14) Rachel Ehrlich In complex civil disputes it is not uncommon for information to be provided through mediation and that information is often subject to mediation confidentiality. When related disputes (contractual indemnity, insurance carrier contribution, insurance coverage and bad faith, and reinsurance) arise, mediation confidentiality prohibits using the information relied upon as evidence in the related matter.
What’s a ‘Successful’ Mediation? (9/05/14) Katherine Graham Mediation is commonly measured in terms of settlement rate (i.e. did the parties agree?) and you’ll see figures like ’80% settlement rate’ bandied about. In our view this is not the only measure of success. There are many more! Think about which measures matter to you – the parties, the mediators, and your organisation.
Rethinking Negotiation Strategy (9/02/14) Dale Ordas Too frequently, negotiations are fruitless due to inadequate preparation. Rethinking Negotiation Strategy sets forth critical areas that should be part of the preparation for negotiation. In each segment there are references, which provide for a more in depth exploration of these indispensable tools for the successful negotiator.
Resolucion Alterna de Conflictos en Costa Rica y la Apertura Hacia Nuevas Formas de Gestionar el Conflicto (9/01/14) Rolando Perlaza Perez Hace 17 años en Costa Rica se promulgó la Ley Sobre Resolución Alterna de Conflictos y Promoción de la Paz Social ley número 7727 (Ley RAC) y se iniciaron campañas de formación y concientización de la ciudadanía sobre las ventajas y bondades de la solución pacífica, dialogada y colaborativa del conflicto. Desde entonces, Costa Rica ha avanzado en el desarrollo y fortalecimiento de los métodos tradicionales de RAC (Resolución Alterna de Conflictos), entiéndase Arbitraje, Mediación/conciliación, Negociación y en los últimos años los Círculos de Paz. Incluso en el año 2011 se promulgó la Ley Sobre Arbitraje Comercial internacional Ley 8937, que sienta las bases para que Costa Rica sirva de Sede para arbitrajes internacionales de naturaleza comercial.
Mediation and Mindfully Getting in the Middle (Redux) - Video (8/26/14) Brad Heckman In this insightful talk, Brad Heckman discusses mindfulness in conflict mediation. Using poignant humor and his own hand-drawn illustrations, Heckman effectively communicates the necessary balance of emotions, relief and reflection that mindfulness supports in the mediation process.
The Negotiation Campaign (8/25/14) Jeffrey Krivis Negotiations are like political campaigns. It is an organized effort to influence decision makers. Don’t just throw a case against the wall and hope the other side gets it. Mount a negotiation campaign that is strategic and considers who might be needed to vote for your side and what they will need to solidify their vote.
MED-ARB: The Best of Both Worlds or Just A Limited ADR Option? (Part Two) (8/22/14) Mark Baril Med-arb is the melding of two well-established processes for conflict resolution into one hybrid process. Mediation and Arbitration are used in conjunction with one another and, in the truest form of med-arb, the same third-party neutral plays the role of both mediator and arbitrator. In this paper, the term med-arb refers to this pure form that uses the same neutral, and is distinct from the common process where different neutrals are used in a mediation phase and an arbitration phase.
Conflict Resolution for Kids (8/22/14) Judy Ringer My good friend and colleague, Thomas Crum, taught me a lot of what I know about having hard conversations. A method he uses with children - the BLT - is so simple and easy to remember, I often use it and have found it to work very well with children and adults: Breathe, Learn, Talk.
The Good and Bad of Conflict (8/22/14) Ken Johnson As conflict professionals, we should strive to understand the subject of conflict in all its various forms. However, the large majority of the industry only desires to resolve conflict. Indeed, conflict can be beneficial (anabolic) or destructive (catabolic). Knowing the difference can give businesses and other organizations a catalystic edge to take them to the next level.
Time for a Mediator’s Hippocratic Oath? (8/19/14) Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes It is one of the defining characteristics of professions whose stakeholders invest great trust in their practitioners. Doctors make the Hippocratic Oath. Accountants, lawyers, police officers, elected officials, social workers, veterinarians and others in a position of trust also make various forms of oaths. Yet mediators do not make an oath, even though mediators are invariably taken into parties’ trust. Should mediators make a Hippocratic-style oath?
“Talk To Me”: What It Takes To Be An NYPD Hostage Negotiator (8/18/14) Hugh M. McGowan, Ph.D., Jeff Thompson Crisis and hostage incidents are known for being stressful, unpredictable, tense, anxiety-filled, and emotionally driven. Add to this volatile concoction is that these incidents often can involve violence that has been threatened or having already occurred. Amidst these chaotic incidents New York City Police Department hostage negotiators emerge to provide the antidote to the ensuing turbulence.
La Mediacion en Costa Rica y el Papel del Mediador (8/15/14) Rolando Perlaza Perez La mediación es un método de Resolución Alterna de Conflictos (RAC) de naturaleza auto-compositiva que busca solucionar las diferencias a través del dialogo. En ese sentido, es un método en el cual un tercero imparcial, llamado mediador, interviene en un conflicto entre dos o más personas a solicitud y con la anuencia de las mismas, con el fin de ayudarles en la búsqueda de soluciones pacíficas, cooperativas y mutuamente satisfactorias.
MED-ARB: The Best of Both Worlds or Just A Limited ADR Option? (Part One) (8/15/14) Mark Baril Med-arb is the melding of two well-established processes for conflict resolution into one hybrid process. Mediation and Arbitration are used in conjunction with one another and, in the truest form of med-arb, the same third-party neutral plays the role of both mediator and arbitrator. In this paper, the term med-arb refers to this pure form that uses the same neutral, and is distinct from the common process where different neutrals are used in a mediation phase and an arbitration phase.
Adding Verbal and Non-Verbal Communications Capacity in Virtual Contexts (8/11/14) Ben Ziegler Working virtually can put the squeeze on our full range of verbal and nonverbal communication skills. This is a given with it comes to nonverbal. When we’re in the same physical space together, the success of our communication effort is mightily influenced by our nonverbal, visual, actions. Where is body language, and tone of voice, in a tweet or Facebook post? Fortunately, there are virtual ways to add back some of our lost communications capacity, both verbal and nonverbal.
Shooting Yourself in the Foot (8/08/14) Don Cripe One of the earliest “learned professions” in the Western world is the law. A reading of ancient history from the earliest beginnings of Western civilization will reveal allusions to lawyers. Popes, kings and feudal governments in medieval Europe relied heavily upon lawyers to guide them. Yet, from early days and primarily because of the educational and status advantages lawyers held over most of society, the profession has suffered from poor public opinion and criticism; literature and in popular culture with the onset of the “lawyer joke.”
Observatorio del Conflicto Social - en Espanol (8/08/14) Alberto Elisavetsky En un contexto social de alta litigiosidad, bajo apego al cumplimiento de las normas que regulan la vida social, el incremento de la violencia como forma de intercambio interpersonal y el uso del poder como forma demasiado extendida de resolver diferendos, parece oportuna la creación de un Instituto del Conflicto, que profundice y articule actividades académicas y sociales, en el nuevo y vasto campo de la resolución de conflictos.
On What Level Are We Mediating? (8/08/14) Oran Kaufman How do you define success in mediation? The answer depends in part on who is asking the question? Success for the parties may be different than success for the mediator or success for the court. This article explores the question of how to define success in mediation from a variety of angles including what does success mean for the mediation profession?
The Myth of Mediation Neutrality - book excerpt (8/08/14) Kevin Boileau The traditional view is that a mediator is a neutral, third party who helps two or more conflicting parties cooperatively resolve their differences. Interestingly enough, this belief is analogous to the Cartesian-Newtonian epistemological position that holds that one can be an independent observer of an objective world, in science or in daily life. However, I am skeptical about this position, both epistemologically and clinically. What remains an open question is whether a mediator can actually ever be a “neutral third.”
Beware of Ultimatums When Negotiating (8/01/14) John Sturrock Good negotiation involves lots of client moves, client satisfaction, flexible negotiators, . . . and few ultimatums. Remember these tips in order to get the best agreement for your client.
Do Your Surrounding Systems Support Your Inner Self? (8/01/14) Ralph Kilmann Are your surrounding systems separate from your inner self? I would like to address the observation that we typically define our sense of self as being separate from our surrounding systems. So I ponder: What are the consequences of keeping our sense of self (some integration of ego, soul, and self-worth) separate from our surrounding systems?
What the Supreme Court of India Got Right and What it Got Wrong (8/01/14) Niyata Samir Ghandi The Kluwer Arbitration Blog published an outsider’s perspective on the decision of the Supreme Court of India which has been applauded by international practitioners around the world since it curbed the jurisdiction of Indian courts over an arbitration agreement supplementing the pro-arbitration jurisprudence coming from the SCI over the last two years. The writer has commented not only as an outsider but also and more particularly as a Civil Lawyer, proposing an excellent alterative to the court’s approach. However, it may be necessary to have an insider’s perspective on the judgment.
Book Review: The Variegated Landscape of Mediation (7/31/14) Michael Leathes Never before has an attempt been made to capture the distinctive qualities and differences that combine to make mediation eclectic and also truly comprehensible. Until now. The Variegated Landscape of Mediation (Eleven International Publishing, July 2014) is a collaboration of around 90 of mediation's thought leaders from around the world. It is the first work that explains on a global plane how mediation has cross-pollinated itself into such a kaleidoscopic display of both consistent and contradictory features.
La Mediación en Costa Rica (7/25/14) Rosa Abdelnour A mediados de la década de los noventa se realizó en Costa Rica, por parte del Poder Judicial, una consulta ciudadana para evaluar la percepción acerca del sistema judicial. Los resultados mostraron descontento entre la población por el formalismo para acceder al sistema y la mora o duración de los procesos que se consideraba excesiva.