Government Mediation Section

Government Mediation Articles

Joe Markowitz

Crisis in the Courts: Making a Virtue out of a Necessity

(10/25/13)Joe Markowitz Crisis grips the California court system. In Los Angeles County, budget cutbacks have forced the courts to do away with court reporters, reduce clerical staff, close 10 courthouses, and assign personal injury cases to a master trial calendar system. At a time when ADR might be considered one of the solutions for relieving the increased burdens on the civil trial courts that these changes will impose, the Superior Court in Los Angeles instead took the surprising step of closing its entire court-connected ADR program.
Jeff Thompson

4 Secrets for Winning the Toughest Negotiations

(10/18/13)Jeff Thompson "Let's send Richardson," President Bill Clinton once said, according to Bill Richardson, a former Clinton cabinet member. "Bad people like him."
Chris Poole

Washington Could Use a Little More Mediation

(10/18/13)Chris Poole Most of us were at least slightly frustrated by Washington’s inability to reach agreement over budget and debt limit issues in the past weeks and months. In fact this kind of dysfunction and brinksmanship has become more of a regular pattern than an aberration. Clearly the issues are complex as in any political debate and blame can be placed just about anywhere.
Jeff Thompson

Government Shutdown Tip: Build A Golden Bridge

(10/04/13)Jeff Thompson Build a golden-what? What does a bridge, no less a 'golden' one, have to do with mediation and negotiation and congress? Well, the term is from William Ury's book, Getting Past No.
Jeff Murphy

Washington Shutdown and Divorce Mediation

(10/04/13)Jeff Murphy Most of us who are trained mediators learned the process of “Principled Negotiation”. It’s the theory behind Roger Fisher and William Ury’s Great work -”Getting To Yes”. It teaches how to negotiate without compromising principles but by examining each parties’ positions and exploring the underlying needs and interests to create options that can help reach fair and equitable solutions and settlements.
Gary Harper

The Passive-Aggressive: Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?

(8/23/13)Gary Harper Collaborative conflict resolution requires a safe space for the conflict to exist. A hostile climate drives people underground, but curiosity, respect, and a willingness to be influenced encourage open communication.
Kenneth Cloke

Conflict and Movements for Social Change: The Politics of Mediation and the Mediation of Politics

(7/07/13)Kenneth Cloke Internal conflicts are endemic and natural to progressive political and social movements, in part because it is difficult to agree on how to define and change highly complex, volatile and evolving social problems. As a result, over time, different definitions of the problem and perceptions about the nature of those who defend and represent it result in radically different notions about what needs to be done to change it. This article helps to clarify definitions of conflict and people's goals for resolving it.
Charlie Irvine

Business As Usual? Mediation and the Justice System

(5/19/13)Charlie Irvine This article considers the under-use of mediation in the UK's second largest jurisdiction, Scotland. The article has three sections: a "myth buster" and two questions. The first examines three popular myths about mediation; the second addresses the question, "How does mediation add value to the justice system"; and the third presents the business case for lawyers, "Why does mediation make good business sense?"
Robert Benjamin

Lincoln Unchained: A Principled Hardball Negotiator For the Ages - Film Review

(5/16/13)Robert Benjamin 'Lincoln' is worthy of admission to the elite pantheon of excellent films, few in number, that focus on negotiation. More than merely a well-drawn historical drama, as some have characterized it, the film pushes beyond the simplistic mythology of Lincoln as the great emancipator and savior of the Union to examine the reality of what is required to negotiate difficult human events. Not surprisingly, little has changed in the intervening 150 years, which makes the film deserving of careful review by teachers and practitioners of negotiation and mediation.

ODR and Government

(5/01/13)Ethan Katsh, Daniel Rainey The topic at hand is the use of the Internet to govern, and the role that ODR can play in e-government. Our discussion of e-government will be divided into three main sections: What has changed?; What must government (and e-government) do?; and Where are e-government and ODR going? ZZZZZ

NY: Gov Cuomo Assigns AAA To Mediate Hurricane Sandy Disputes

(2/25/13) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on February 25, 2013 that the Department of Financial Services has established a voluntary mediation process for homeowners disputing their insurance claims or dissatisfied with denials of their claims arising from Storm Sandy. “Mediation offers a speedy, low-cost resolution of insurance claims for homeowners who are unable to reach agreement with their homeowners’ insurance companies on claims from Storm Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said. “It is also much less expensive for insurers than litigation, so it’s a win for everyone.”
Jerry Barrett

FMCS History Archive Story

(1/18/13)Jerry Barrett This is the story of a career with FMCS. The FMCS historian tells of his career, successes and mistakes, and some of his most interesting experiences with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. This story should be of interest for those new to the mediation field--it tells of the difficulties, the mundane, the struggle, the determination, the hope, and finally the reward of a career in the mediation field. ZZZZZ

"Face to Face" Explores Restorative Justice - Jan. 9 & 10 Screenings in LA

(1/02/13) The award-winning film “Face to Face” will screen on January 9 and 10 in Southern California. The Australian drama deals with the concept of restorative justice, in which a mediator is appointed to resolve conflicts and legal issues. Plaintiff and defendant confront each other in a controlled, guided situation. The benefits of such an approach are obvious: Swift justice, rather than a costly protracted trial in the criminal court system: Good for the plaintiff, good for the defendant, good for the taxpaying public.
Princess Inaara

Princess Inaara Speaks in Support of Mediation (video)

(11/15/12)Princess Inaara In this video, Princess Inaara of Jordan speaks eloquently in support of mediation for Jordanian and middle east societies. As she says: "Mediation is respectful cooperation in conflict and an intelligent and human way of thinking."
F. Peter Phillips

When Interests Change at the Negotiating Table

(11/11/12)F. Peter Phillips Neither negotiation pundits nor political commentators seem very quick to pick up on an obvious fact of life: That, as negotiations continue, the underlying objective of the parties may change, and their interest may morph.
Chris Kane

Mediating Storm Water Run-off Disputes – Settling “Neighbor Wars”

(11/05/12)Chris Kane Waterway and wetland mediations involve complex issues and multiple parties. This article discusses multiple mediations where the courts helped to advance and support the mediation process.
Michael Scott

Review of "Splitting America: How Politicians, Super PACS and the News Media Mirror High Conflict Divorce

(8/28/12)Michael Scott Saposnek and Eddy offer an interesting and insightful perspective of the current American political landscape. This book offers a highly descriptive explanation of conflict, easily understood on the micro level of the dynamic between divorcing couples, which is then transposed onto the macro level of our two major political parties that are unable to resolve conflict.
Joe Markowitz

Rules and Ethics

(5/29/12)Joe Markowitz Suppose the party inserting such a provision admits their deceitful intent and specifically instructs the mediator not to tell the other side of the land mine's existence. Is the mediator bound to keep that information confidential?

Mediation Given Key Role in Gulf Oil Spill Settlement


A federal judge in the BP gulf oil spill case has named a mediator to focus on resolving seafood claims for which $2.3 billion has been set aside in the proposed class action settlement. The seafood claims cover commercial fishing and oyster leaseholders and harvesters, but not the processing or sale of seafood. This is the only portion of the settlement that is capped, with the overall settlement estimated to be about $7.8 billion. (March 9, 2012)

Conflict is Inevitable. War is Not.

(4/30/12)Christianna Gozzi Conflict resolution practitioners can work to design conflict management procedures which are practical, efficient and usable at every level of society, thus increasing the probabilities that humans will chose a non-violent system over war.
John Sturrock

A Little More Conversation

(3/26/12)John Sturrock The next two years present Scotland and the rest of the UK with a unique opportunity. How we conduct the discussion of the constitutional question (whether or not Scotland should become an independent nation) could be as important as the outcome.

World Bank Analyzes ADR Benefits


A World Bank paper discusses the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution, looking at the empirical benefits of mediation and other forms of ADR and noting the need for additional studies outside the U.S. The short paper, by the Investment Climate Impact Project, focuses on measurable issues of cost savings and timing. It also discusses less measurable impacts, such as improving business relationships and problem-solving skills, reducing pressure on courts, and improving investors’ perceptions about the safety of business investments in emerging markets.

Settling Out of Court, Note No. 329 (2011); The World Bank Group’s Viewpoint Policy Journal

City Uses Mediation to Avoid Bankruptcy


Stockton, California avoided bankruptcy by bringing in a mediator to resolve disputes with creditors and unions, as required by a California law enacted last year. Stockton is the first city affected by the law, and might be the beginning of a trend, as other cities in California are under financial stress. Twenty-four states permit municipalities to file Chapter 9 bankruptcies, with some restrictions.

Bloomberg (February 29, 2012)

Japanese Mediation Center Beginning to Resolve Fukushima Nuclear Accident Claims


The mediation center established by the Japanese government is now beginning to resolve claims resulting from the Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe, with three resolutions from the 600 claims that have been submitted thus far. Many more claims are likely from the 150,000 people displaced by the nuclear accident, but to begin the process each claimant must complete a 56-page form using a 150-page instruction manual and provide receipts and other documentation. The Japanese government has set up a $26 billion fund to pay damages on behalf of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), with another $11.7 billion approved in November and more likely to follow. Few lawsuits have been filed, although one lawyer is threatening to file a shareholder derivative action against Tepco’s corporate directors seeking $72 billion for failing to raise the height of tsunami barriers. (January 26, 2012)

U.K. Trying Regional Workplace Mediation Networks


The U.K. Government announced that it is establishing two regional mediation networks for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in a pilot program to reduce workplace disputes and the number of employment tribunal cases. The mediation networks will be in Cambridge and Manchester, with mediation training of employees at 24 SMEs, as smaller companies are often not aware of the benefits of mediation and rarely use it. Trained mediators will then be able to assist other organizations in their regional network. The government is seeking a provider for the first round of mediation training. The pilot program is part of the government’s reform of the employment tribunal system; in the last two years tribunal claims have risen to 218,000, an increase of 44 percent. The program will run 12 months and expand to other areas if successful.

People Management Magazine Online (January 23, 2012); eGov Monitor (January 24, 2012)

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