Comments: Absolute Confidentiality—Is It Wise?

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J.  , Thompson Mb     12/17/05
Death to mediation is most likely to come from so-called practitioners, like the author, who appear dangerously confused about the difference between mediation and litigation. Mediation has existed for millenia -- well before judicial processes and their inevitably coercive mayhem have been imposed upon the world. (I also believe that mediation will continue to exist well after courts and other coercive and power-based processes have long bit the dust). The court and police structures are based on the belief that humans are evil (or some variant thereof), and need to be held in check -- hence the coerciveness of their processes. Mediation, on the other hand, is premised on the belief that humans are basically good, and will work at making things right, given half a chance: hence its quiet and confidential approach. The confidentiality of mediation is what makes mediation mediation. (I don't know what the word 'absolute' is doing in the title, except as it is used here, it seems to be an oximoron). If you are looking for some means to beat somebody up -- either through the coerciveness of the court/police/etc. structures, or even through negative sanctions like adverse public opinion (particularly the orchestrated variety) then you should stay the hell away from mediation and go litigate your brains out! Though not confidential, it would have a lot more integrity than trying to subvert mediation in order to meet your own unresolved power needs. Happy Holidays!