General Mills Inc., maker of Cheerios and other grocery staples, has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers. The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration, a change first reported by the New York Times last week. Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely "liked" General Mills' social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website or entered any company-sponsored contests. General Mills initially criticized the media reports on the policy, saying they had mischaracterized it. The company also defended arbitration as "a straightforward and efficient way to resolve such disputes — and many companies take the same approach. We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases." But the coverage set off consumer outcry on social media, eventually leading to the abrupt reversal Saturday.
Relationship breakdown is seldom easy for those involved. In some instances, emotions are so raw that the fracture can lead to an irreconcilable breakdown in communication. The desire to demonstrate who was right and who was wrong compels individuals to air their differences in court. However, that does not just mean turning up at court and asking the judge for a decision. It can mean a lot of preparation, investigation, time and expense and can have lasting consequences for the couple concerned and those close to them, especially their children. Thankfully, conflict is not a common element of every divorce, even if divorce itself is far too frequent for the liking of many commentators. According to figures released recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), some 42 per cent of marriages now end in divorce.
Each summer a cohort of students spends intensive hours developing and sharpening skills that numerous employers are seeking in today's ideal employment candidate. Many conflict resolution skills, such as effective listening and communicating, problem solving, impartiality, and decision-making are core components of effective leadership which are sought by employers.
New combined Family Courts have come into being in England and Wales as part of family justice system reforms. The plan also includes new time frames for cases where children are taken into care and compulsory mediation awareness sessions for separating couples. Justice Minister Simon Hughes said it was "a hugely important change" to what had been a "very dysfunctional system". But the chief executive of the Family Rights Group charity said some of the changes could "work against children".
The Village Mediation Program was erected in the 1980s to give residents a tool to address such situations. Since then, a group of 12–15 trained volunteer mediators from the community have made themselves available to bring interested parties together to talk out their differences. This year the mediator group is looking for new volunteers to help manage the average case load of one to two mediations per month, and they have organized a free two-day training program for anyone interested in either becoming a volunteer mediator or gaining skills in conflict resolution.
Mediation can make divorce "more respectful" and help the splitting couple from arguing unnecessarily, according to one mother. Natasha Brittan told Daybreak sitting down with her estranged husband and an impartial referee with legal knowledge had helped them have an amicable divorce. "It just made everything more respectful, kinder and we did not want, or certainly I did not want my divorce to define the rest of my life.
No one shouts in this people’s court. There are no tears. Tension can run high, but volunteers with the Quad-Cities Mediation Services work with plaintiffs and defendants in Scott County District Small Claims Court to move toward solutions. Just over half of the 600 or so small claims lawsuits filed each year are resolved in the tiniest of meeting rooms on the courthouse’s third floor. The service handles the mediation district court magistrates require before hearing any small claims case. Volunteers bring the litigants together for a guided process that bypasses the drama of the courtroom reality shows. “We’re not here to belittle you,” Magistrate Doug Wells said of small claims court. “We’re here to make a decision in your case.” Volunteer mediators describe a unique community service that is challenging, but very rewarding. They commit to one or two days a month that begin at noon and wrap up within an hour or two. “You see actual results for real people,” Mediation Services Director Linda Schneider said. “Sometimes you can feel the burden being lifted off these people.”
Criminal mediation isn’t common, but some critics say it traumatizes victims and infringes on their constitutional rights. When a felony case is mediated, the defendant, prosecutor and defense attorney meet with a mediating judge, hoping to avoid a trial. They hash out all issues, including reduced charges, continuing relationships with the victim, sentencing, restitution and admissibility of evidence. The defendant and defense attorney are in one room, the prosecutor in another. The mediating judge travels between them, and the proceedings are neither recorded nor reported. Such confidentiality encourages both parties to be open and avoids violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights, said Linda Trout, a retired Idaho Supreme Court justice who serves as a criminal mediator and sits on the Criminal Mediation Committee overseeing the process. But Betsy Z. Russell, president of the Idaho Press Club, expressed concerns.
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Compassionate or Benevolent Divorce (2/21/14) Roger Ley This is an essay on compassionate divorce and the role of lawyers in the divorce or dispute resolution process. For the parties, the core of my system is to negotiate for the welfare of both sides. For the lawyers, the core is to throw away the law books and let imagination help the lawyers find creative resolutions to their cases.
The Argument As A Persuasive Tool In Negotiation (2/16/14) Jeffrey Krivis Mediation, like the sketches in Monty Python, is like theatre. In order to succeed, the actors must keep the scene going forward without denying the other actors the opportunity to be heard. Arguments work on the stage provided they are done in a way that maintains the flow of the scene, allows conversation to be fluid, and doesn’t box in the other players. 2 Comments
Marital Mediation is Not Therapy (2/14/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Mediation is not therapy. Mediation is a problem solving process in which the three participants, husband, wife, mediator, determine the issues to be tackled, what information is needed to embark on the process and what were the objectives to be gained. 4 Comments
Like other briefs, a quality mediation brief starts with a careful evaluation of the audience. Who will see your brief? Who is making the settlement decision? Who are you trying to influence? Too many mediation briefs try to influence only the mediator. Every mediation is different. Every case has its own settlement personality. But there are recurring themes and issues that confront attorneys whose clients are heading to mediation.
Whose Fault Is It? (2/07/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen When parents are arguing, children are typically caught in the middle. The children try to figure out who is at fault and what they can do to stop it. This article suggests that what children need is not a place to assign blame, but a place of peace.
What Went Wrong with Mediation? (2/07/14) Christian Radu Chereji, Constantin-Adi Gavrila Presenting recently the results of the study on ‘Rebooting’ the Mediation Directive, Giuseppe de Palo talked about the “European Union mediation paradox” – the existence of a “highly acclaimed, efficient, effective process that very few people use”, in his own words – and the need of “rebooting” the implementation of mediation process in the EU in the light of the limited effects of current legislation upon the number of civil cases mediated. 4 Comments
Curso de Posgrado (2/06/14) Alberto Elisavetsky Nuestro siglo nos presenta permanentemente situaciones paradójicas. La Globalización puede lograr que los avatares económicos de Gambia tengan decidida influencia en Bolivia, pese a que crecen y se multiplican los medios de comunicación, cada vez las personas se sienten más solas. La fragmentación del saber llega hasta límites tan increíbles que el grado de sofisticación en las especialidades parece no tener fin y a veces se pierde la noción del todo por el imperio de las partes. Internet irrumpió en nuestras vidas para quedarse, como sobreponernos al alud de información, de qué manera articular los avances tecnológicos con todas las profesiones.
Mediate is Top Ranked Mediation Website (2/04/14) Mediate.com Mediate.com is ranked the top mediation and dispute resolution website by Alexa in its February 1, 2014 global website rankings. In business since 1996, Mediate.com has over 15,000 searchable mediation articles, blog posts, news items and videos. Mediate.com also hosts the most used mediator directory and offers mobile friendly website development, professional promotional services and cloud-based case management systems.
The Best Mediation Secrets (1/31/14) Jacques Joubert Naturally not all clients are expected to be amenable to mediate their disputes, but if given the choice, they will be fully responsible for getting on the path to the courthouse of the mediation table. The clients will be able to make an empowered decision, and attorneys can rest knowing that their clients had enough information to make the right choice for them. This author shares his views on this from the mediation world in Cape Town.
Intercultural Mediation (1/31/14) Guillermo Kleinlein Throughout time, Intercultural Mediation in China has become the preferred method for Dispute Resolution. It preserves social peace in a country with huge extensions and diverse orography, and with a population of various ethnic origins. We shall compare the subjacent conditions with those in the Argentine Republic and propose some alternatives to implement such method as a Dispute Resolution System.
Cultural Diversity in Mediation and Conflict Resolution (1/31/14) Farhana Chowdhury As a Mediator, we have the role to steer clients to reconcile their differences in an arena where they mutually agree to a resolution. In order to navigate our clients to a resolution that is amicable and comfortable, we have to identify the underlying issues of the conflict. To fully identify the underlying issues of a conflict for clients that are culturally diverse, it is pertinent to attain a basic understanding of the client’s cultural background and anticipate how it may impact the issues leading to the conflict. For mediators who practice in areas where cultural diversity is eminent, a basic understanding of their cultural differences is often the key to evaluate strategies employed to reach an agreement.
Mediación Intercultural (1/30/14) Guillermo Kleinlein A través de los tiempos, la Mediación Intercultural en China se ha convertido en un método preferido para la Resolución de Disputas, a la par de preservar la paz social en un país de grandes extensiones y disímil orografía, con población de variados orígenes étnicos. Analizamos sus condiciones subyacentes comparadas con las existentes en la República Argentina y proponemos alternativas de implementación de tal método como sistema para la Resolución de Disputas.
Demystifying American Divorce Law (1/24/14) Larry Gaughan The misconception that there may be a fixed "legal" solution for many mediated divorce cases has created unnecessary difficulties in communication between mediators of different professions. A proper understanding of how the formal system of divorce law works (and often doesn't work) may help to bridge these gaps. This article is intended to enable mediators who are not attorneys to be more comfortable with some useful concepts and guidelines inside the legal box. It is also intended to enable mediators who are lawyers to expand the scope of their skills and knowledge into the important areas of divorce settlements outside of the legal box.
The Parents Left Standing (1/23/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen There are many different scenarios where parents leave the life of their child. This article goes over some of these scenarios, as well as what to say to a young child, such as the parent is learning to be a better parent and person and having your child write a letter to or draw a picture for the other parent. Remember you chose to have your children, please continue to choose them. I can tell you that adults are much less forgiving than children.
Mediation Skills: Non-Violent Communication and Aikido (1/18/14) Jerry Green What is the relationship between Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and Embodied Compassionate Communication or Emotional Aikido? The answer to this question begins by understanding that NVC is a language skill and does not encompass somatic training.
Mediation in Hotels (1/17/14) Sandra Untrojb The relationship between employees of different hierarchies and each of the departments that are part of the organization chart of a hotel such as Food and Beverage, Front office, Housekeeping, etc., results in that although all parts of the structure tend to say that no one in their company takes bad to anyone, if you look a little more closely, you discover behaviors they pit a sector against another by opposing interests.
Mediacion Aplicada a Empresas Hoteleras (1/15/14) Sandra Untrojb El situación de relación permanente entre los empleados de las distintas jerarquías y de cada uno de los departamentos que componen el organigrama del hotel como ser Alimentos y Bebidas, Front- office, Housekeeping , etc, trae como consecuencia que aunque todas las partes componentes de la estructura tiendan a decir que en su Empresa nadie se lleva mal con nadie, si se analiza con un poco más de detenimiento, se descubran comportamientos que enfrentan a los integrantes de un sector con los de otro por intereses opuestos.
The Role of Diversity in Mediation (1/10/14) Amanda Maxted, Jeffrey J. Beaton As mediators we have been taught that disputes are more likely to be people-problems than legal-problems. Instead of listening only to a participant’s position, we should search for underlying interests, wants, values, and needs. Mediators discover that by learning more about human nature, they are able to understand people's motives. In turn we can encourage participants to reach agreement or helpful change. 3 Comments
Mediacion Escolar y Los Derechos de Ninos Y Adolescents (1/10/14) María victoria Marun Enseñar las habilidades de resolución de conflictos en las escuelas provocará el descenso de los problemas disciplinarios y proveerá de cimientos y habilidades para la próxima generación. Es nuestra intención que todos los estudiantes tengan la posibilidad de ser instruidos acerca de la resolución de conflictos y habilidades comunicacionales
Mediation Works for Family-Run Enterprises (1/10/14) James MacPherson In the Arab World, family firms make up 85 per cent of the region's non-oil GDP. While many are small to medium-sized enterprises -
the cornerstone of any successful economy - the success of the GCC economies, coupled with the enterprising minds of business
leaders during the region's boom years mean that a significant number of these organisations have become multinational and highly
Downton Abbey Negotiations: A Primer on Surviving in Turbulent Times, Then and Now (1/09/14) Robert Benjamin The PBS television drama series, Downton Abbey, depicting the turbulent social, cultural, and economic times in England a century ago, has justifiably captured the imagination and interest of many viewers. Less noticed is the unusual attention given to the negotiations that necessarily occurred and allowed people to endure those disruptions. Negotiation strategies and techniques are presented throughout in a thoughtful and realistic manner that makes the program relevant to present day practice and worthy of study. 1 Comment
ADR, ODR, e-Mediación y Negociación Automática (1/05/14) Andres Vazquez Los mecanismos en línea que se vienen implementando en todo el mundo para la resolución alternativa de conflictos, abarcan procedimientos con características propias, y diferentes perfiles conceptuales, en donde las fronteras –en ocasiones extremadamente sutiles- existen y determinan su naturaleza jurídica.
Are More Changes Afoot? Mediation Trends in 2014 (1/02/14) Don Cripe Personal injury law is far more complicated in application than many people might believe. The title of this piece is thus phrased as a question because… frankly… I don’t know the answer. This article discusses the future of the mediation field.
The Hidden Costs of Workplace Conflict (1/02/14) Steve McGuire This article basically sets forth the underlying costs to an organization in terms of loss productivity, processes and actual dollar cost in lost investment, replacing workers, and the consequences of unattended conflict. This helps employers decide when a conflict is serious enough that they should be proactive. 2 Comments
Co-Mediation: Training Wheels or Obstacle Course? (12/27/13) Richard Barbieri Although many training programs and mediation groups start new mediators in pairs, the challenge of learning how to work with a partner may only lengthen the learning curve. Evidence from other fields suggests that group performance depends on first honing individual skills, and that pairs or other teams work best when both parties are already experienced. 5 Comments
Solutions and Future Plans of Mediation as an ADR Method (12/27/13) Uma Ramanathan Mediation in our country is no more a toddler, it has started to have an identity and it is time that we devise a cohesive plan for the growth of mediation in a manner that would allow cohesion among the stakeholders in the process. Changing the mind set of all concerned is now essential to take stock of where mediation is heading and what is to be done.
Family Violence and ODR (12/23/13) Maria Eugenia Sole While conflict is inevitable and inherent to the family, violence is an inadequate manifestation of tensions and conflicts that goes beyond the capacity of response of individuals, due to serious situations of psycho-emotional, sociocultural or economic limitations. In this sense, violence is the extreme manifestation of the constraints to which families are subjected.
The Bias Against Non-Attorney Mediators (12/20/13) Howard Iken Mediators are in hot demand in Florida family law cases. Every open case requires mediation. Many cases require two mediations. But there is an open bias against non-attorney mediators in many family law cases. Read this simple list of ways you can penetrate that barrier and increase your success as a mediator. 1 Comment
Mediator as Truthsayer (12/20/13) Laurie Israel Mediation is not one monolithic technique. Mediators and mediation theorists may categorize different types of mediation techniques into different theoretical boxes, such as “facilitative”, “evaluative” and “transformational”. But the categories all seem to bleed into each other. 1 Comment