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Family Mediation Pilot Gets Mixed Results

by Jeff Thompson
January 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson


Stats, Standards & Surveys!

This article I think is worth reading for many reasons- and beyond just for family mediators. Issues such as saving, accrediting mediators and determining success is not limited to court mediations surrounding family issues.


I'll start with the last sentence as I know it raises the most emotions in ADR folk:

a survey carried out by the Civil Mediation Council showed widespread support for its moves towards accredited training for mediators, the establishment of a register of mediators and clear quality standards.

Also, I must admit I do not often read the comments by readers, but for this article I was glad I did because there is heaps of information there as well:

So it cost over £3 million more to administer the scheme than it saved! How many people could have been helped using this huge sum of money. Also I would question the effectiveness of a partial settlement using mediation.

Feedback from another reader:

It’s a very short article and there are issues that need to be made clearer:• the mediators are not trained to a high enough level to be really effective, and certainly they are unable to either detect or deal with the "loonies" (the implacably hostile) who inflict so much harm upon the children as they fight it out over many years.

• the ongoing involvement of the family lawyers is usually unhelpful – mediation is robbing them of their revenue stream after all. There are no sanctions for refusing to mediate.

• a 28% settlement rate in hostile courtroom surroundings is not be sniffed at.

• how much money did the 28% save the court service - where did this £3m figure come from quoted by Jacqueline Emmerson??

In short, I think given all of the above, the results are actually positive given the zero development that has been attempted in terms of exploiting the potential of mediation and raising the quality of mediatiors.

Read the full article [here].

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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