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Mediation in Today's News

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June 2014

  • Shanghai mediation service offers cure for patient-hospital disputes

    Shanghai's introduction of a mediation service to resolve patient-hospital disputes before they lead to lawsuits or even violence seems to be easing strains in the system, city authorities said. Almost 7,000 cases were heard in the first 30 months of the program, 82 percent of them with successful outcomes. In the first quarter of this year alone, mediation offices handled 855 cases, a 20 percent increase from last year, and 517 of them resulted in settlements involving nearly 25 million yuan (US$4 million) in compensation. "Mediation is free and fast, while litigation can be expensive and drawn-out," said Zhang Jie, a lawyer and experienced mediator in Shanghai. read

  • How Mediation Can Help Resolve a Technology Dispute

    It may take all day (and sometimes all night) but more often than not the mediator is successful. This may be because the very fact that parties have agreed to mediate in the first place means a settlement is more likely. It may be because if you sit senior executives in a room for long enough they will want to do a deal just so they can escape. But whatever the reason, mediation works. Talk to any mediator and they will be justifiably proud of their success rate. Mediation is cheaper than litigation, more flexible in terms of the range of outcomes open to the parties to agree and it's confidential. What's not to like? read

  • Conflict Mediation Through Sport

    This week, the world’s attention will refocus from domestic issues to the international stage of the World Cup in Brazil. While domestic Israeli politics never has a dull moment, today we bring you a story about the Italian football superclub “FC Inter Milan” and the social work they recently completed in Israel/Palestine. The initiative is called “Inter Campus”. On the website they write: “Since 1997, Inter Campus has implemented a flexible and long-term social and cooperation programme in 25 foreign countries, assisted by 200 local instructors. The aim of the programme is to use the game of football as an educational tool to restore the right to play to 10,000 needy children.” The program in Israel/Palestine brought together Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and African Refugees to compete, train, and play together. read

  • Besieged Iraqi forces in Tal-Afar seek tribal mediation to escape ISIS

    The Iraqi army, besieged for days in the Iraqi airport of Tal-Afar, are seeking tribal mediation with ISIS to enable them to leave their positions safely, Anadolu news agency said yesterday. According to an officer, the army has been seeking a tribal mediation with ISIS in order to reach a "truce that guarantees them safe departure". He did not mention any details. read

  • ADR may put courts out of (small) business

    In light of the continued fall in court cases and the rising use of ADR, is there a future for our courts in Scotland? Should the decline we have seen over the past four years continue, then by 2020 the Scottish Courts will very much be the minority player in the resolution of disputes in Scotland. There will, of course, always be the need for the courts for certain cases and parties. It does appear, however, that their role will become increasingly specialised and will only deal with the high end, complex disputes involving multi-million sums. read

  • Law Shielding Mediation Communications Doesn't Make Malpractice Claim Unprovable

    A malpractice plaintiff who says his lawyer steered him into an inadequate settlement may be able to plead and prove his claim even though he is statutorily prohibited from disclosing the terms of the purportedly inadequate settlement or any communications that occurred during mediation, the Oregon Court of Appeals held June 11 (Alfieri v. Soloman).  A trial judge dismissed the case with prejudice after finding that Oregon's mediation confidentiality statute barred the plaintiff from disclosing three categories of information essential to proving damages: 1) the terms of the underlying settlement; 2) any “mediation communications,” including the lawyer's advice after the mediation conference but before the settlement was signed; and 3) post-signing communications in which the lawyer failed to inform the client that the other party's noncompliance with certain settlement terms called into question the enforceability of the agreement.  The appeals court said that while the first two categories of information were properly struck from the complaint, the post-settlement discussions were not covered by the confidentiality statute. read

  • Brooklyn judge asked to discard his own mediator

    The Brooklyn judge deciding whether to disqualify certain scorers who evaluated proposals to purchase Long Island College Hospital is being asked to discard one of his own mediators. read

  • Airport board 'can mediate in good faith' on ex-director's discrimination complaint

    The director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority said mediation is a possibility in the gender discrimination complaint filed by the former director of the county's three airports. "We can certainly mediate in good faith," said Airports Director Paul Campbell. "We want something that allows us to run the airport in a cost-effective manner." The resolution to the nearly year-old dispute with ex-airports Director Sue Stevens does not have to involve money entirely, Aviation Authority Chairman Andy Savage added. He did not elaborate. read

  • Court Must Mediate in Cases Involving Children

    New Iowa Legislature-mandated mediation guidelines for court cases involving children will take effect next month. If you have a dissolution of marriage or a domestic relations case involving children, you'll be ordered to go through mediation to try and mediate the issues. Previously, mediation didn't happen unless the parties involved in the case did it on their own. There will be a mediator roster provided to the parties and they will choose their own." The mediator will then file a report saying whether it's been successful or not. Statistically, it's been proven that the parties in these cases are happier that they're a part of the outcome as opposed to going to trial. read

  • New mediation date set for Hope Mills and builders of Hope Mills Lake dam

    A mediation date of July 9 was set Monday in a lawsuit filed by the town against the designers and builders of the failed Hope Mills Lake dam.  In a related matter, the judge said he would decide later on whether the town is required to release documents to Crowder Construction, one of the defendants in the case.  Morphis said Crowder wants emails and other communication regarding a settlement the town reached with Mosher Engineering, another of the defendants.  The town filed suit in October 2012 over the $14 million dam, which failed in June 2010. It seeks more than $10 million in repair costs. read

  • Norwegian Oil Industry Faces Mediation to Avoid Output Halt

    Norwegian oil workers and employers will start mediation talks tomorrow to bridge differences and avoid a strike that threatens to halt about 115,000 barrels of oil a day. The mediation deadline is set for midnight tomorrow and involves two unions that broke off wage talks last month over pensions, according to the parties involved. Talks frequently run beyond the deadline. “We naturally hope for a solution,” Sverre Simen Hov, a spokesman for the Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives, said by phone on June 13. It’s “very difficult” to predict the outcome, he said. read

  • Mediation on rise in matrimonial cases

    The cost of a divorce or separation through mediation is typically 50 percent less and takes about half the time of a traditional court proceeding. Ultimately, 95 percent of such court cases end with a settlement anyway! Mediators discuss the benefits of mediation for many families. read

  • Mediation speeds Franklin County property-tax challenges

    A mediation program designed to handle routine property-value challenges has been so successful that Franklin County officials say it could clear up a backlog of sometimes-years-old complaints by early next year. The program, the first of its kind in the state, allows homeowners to challenge the value that the auditor’s office sets for their property without having to go through the more traditional, formal hearing process before the county’s board of revision. Most of the cases are decided over the phone in a conference call with the property owner, a representative of the auditor’s office and an independent, third-party mediator. read

  • Mediation session agreed by umpires, cricket association

    THE Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) has had a minor win in its bid to retain control of umpiring appointments and development in the region. WCUA officials revealed they had secured a mediation session with the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) over a dispute stretching back to April. The two organisations have been at loggerheads since the WDCA announced it would seize control of the management and training of umpires. read

  • Donetsk People's Republic ready for talks with Ukraine with Russia's mediation

    Donetsk People's Republic is ready to have negotiations with Ukraine, but only with Russia's mediation, Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Donetsk People's Republic, said. read

  • Israel Stops Wealthy Palestinian Mediator Masri From Gaza Entry

    Israeli border guards barred Munib R. Masri, one of the wealthiest Palestinians, from entering the Gaza Strip after he helped broker the unity agreement aimed at healing the Palestinian Authority’s rift with Hamas. Masri, chairman of Palestine Development & Investment Co., said he was blocked from entering Gaza by military order after waiting more than two hours at an Israeli crossing point. A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration, which runs the heavily guarded facility, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by phone, e-mail and text message. “It’s the first time this happened to me,” said Masri, 80, who said he has been shuttling between Gaza and the West Bank for seven years, trying to bridge the hostile conflict between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas leaders who rule Gaza. read

  • Churches launch protester, APD mediation efforts

    There’s a new plan to help keep the peace amidst the controversy over Albuquerque Police Department shootings and it involves local churches. The church leaders behind the movement say they’re worried the protests are getting out of control and now they’re hoping to bridge the gap between police and the community. read

  • In South Sudan Conflict, China Tests Its Mediation Skills

    Driven by commercial interests, China is taking the unusual step of mediating between rival South Sudanese factions. As mediators try yet again to jumpstart stalled peace talks between warring factions in South Sudan, the world will get to see China playing an unfamiliar role: that of lead mediator in another country’s internal conflict. Usually, China’s insistence on non-interference in others’ affairs prevents it from taking such steps, but China’s unique interests in South Sudan have called for a different tactic. read

  • Seasoned Minnesota mediator finds joy in finding the common ground

    On the surface, the PolyMet mining hearings that took place over the winter in northern Minnesota and St. Paul presented a clash of immovable ideas -- the revitalization of a dormant mill promising a generations of good jobs versus the possibility of hundreds of years of water pollution. But digging below, one could find a myriad of subtleties -- gray areas on which both sides could agree, or disagree. The challenge for the moment was not to find a resolution that either would advance or doom the project, it was finding a way for all the voices to be heard. read

  • Bob Buckley: Arbitration favors the deep pockets, not you

    A number of years ago, large corporations discovered that there was a legal way of depriving consumers and employees of their constitutional right to a trial by jury. It is called “alternative dispute resolution,” which is just another way of stating that the little guy is not getting a full measure of justice. How many times do you sign an agreement that provides for arbitration in the event there is a dispute? Many consumer agreements today regarding phone service, cable television service, car sales, or even your employment agreement have arbitration provisions to which you have “agreed.” It's not like you have any negotiating power, because if every service provider dictates it there is no option. read

  • Mediation suggested for Carlile in park incident

    Leisa Carlile, a former candidate in the Republican primary for county executive, was in a Putnam County courtroom yesterday to face charges of disorderly conduct after the Cookeville Police Department responded to a fight involving juveniles in Dogwood Park. She pled not guilty and will be in court again on July 3, according to attorney Shawn Fry. He said Judge John Hudson suggested mediation. “She’s agreeable to going to mediation,” Fry said. However, everyone has to be agreeable to mediation. A judge can suggest mediation, but the judge cannot require parties to enter into mediation. Carlile was the only adult charged in the incident. There was a video of part of the incident, which Carlile had allegedly posted to Facebook and had sparked a number of comments on social media. read

  • Your Contract Might Be Useless Without an Arbitration Clause

    You are vulnerable without an arbitration clause in your contracts and it could prove to be devastating. Contracts are relatively useless if you cannot enforce them without too much hassle; enforcing them through litigation may be too costly and time-consuming to be practical. An "arbitration clause" is simply a provision in a contract that requires the parties to resolve disputes through private arbitration rather than litigating them in court. These clauses have become very popular of late since we live in a litigious society where often a breach of contract leads to one of the parties filing a lawsuit. Most people do not realize how costly and time-consuming it typically is to use the courts to enforce contracts. read

  • Crimea Calls for International Mediation, Peaceful Conflict Resolution in Ukraine

    SIMFEROPOL, June 2 (RIA Novosti) — Crimea's state council called on Ukrainian authorities Wednesday to stop bloodshed immediately in the southeast of Ukraine, withdraw armed forces from the hostile regions, and involve international intermediaries, including Russian, to settle the conflict in the country. "The State Council of the Republic of Crimea declares: only immediate cease of bloodshed, the withdrawal of armed forces from the regions of military action, and involvement of international mediators, including from the Russian Federation, for peaceful settlement of the conflict may become the starting point for the stabilization of the situation in the south-east of Ukraine," said in the local parliament statement, which was approved by 79 out of the present 80 lawmakers. read

  • Feuding Chapin Council leaning toward mediation

    CHAPIN, SC — Chapin Town Council might resort to professional mediators to help members get along. Three of the five members did not object to controversial Mayor Skip Wilson's suggestion at Tuesday night's meeting. "This is an opportunity for the council to show the town residents and the businesses we're serious" about working together, Wilson said. "It seems that we can't do this on our own." Councilwomen Bibi Atkins and Kay Hollis placed conditions on their participation in the as yet unscheduled sessions at Midlands Mediation Center. read

  • Colorado pushes mediation as solution to HOA disputes

    Disputes between community associations and homeowners, not to mention among neighbors in a community, too often have a tendency to start small and blow up into huge messes. "Most of these conflicts are emotion-based," said Robyn McDonald, president of the Mediation Association of Colorado. "People feel they are not being heard." The Colorado HOA Information Office hosted a forum on alternative dispute resolution Wednesday in Denver, and some attending shared stories of costly and long-running battles they wished had been nipped in the bud early. Although they can involve serious matters, like resolving a construction defect or illegal activity, many disputes center around what those in the HOA world call the big P's: partying, painting, pet poop, parking and more recently in Colorado, pot. "A lot of these cases are clogging up the courts," said Gary Kujawski, the state's HOA information officer. To avoid that, Colorado for years has encouraged alternative dispute resolution and back in 2007 required common-interest communities to adopt written policies outlining how that takes place. read

  • Big-Business influence: Madonnna, jury trials and mandatory arbitration

    Madonna made news recently when she got a doctor’s note to avoid jury duty. The material girl’s no-show was not meant to be a statement about the often-futile system of civil justice in America, but it might as well have been. The influence of big business on our Supreme Court and elected officials over the years has resulted in a reality that civil “justice” is a joke, particularly for consumers and most employees. Our “right” to go to court has been virtually eliminated and in its place, the process of binding arbitration now resolves most consumer, employment, anti-trust, and civil rights disputes. Arbitration has virtually eliminated an aggrieved person’s right to go to court and seek justice. read

  • Diego Cordovez, U.N. Envoy and Conflict Mediator, Dies at 78

    Diego Cordovez, an Ecuadorean diplomat who, as a United Nations under secretary general, negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s, died on Saturday in Quito, Ecuador. He was 78. Mr. Cordovez mediated many international conflicts, but he was particularly proud of his success in the Afghan effort.  Mr. Cordovez had a reputation as a tenacious and resourceful diplomat and negotiator who knew the value of humor in carrying out thorny international negotiations.  In describing his quest for a resolution in Afghanistan, The Economist magazine in 1988 called Mr. Cordovez “the world’s most patient man,” adding that his sense of humor and talent for mimicry had “defused many a tense moment.”  read

  • Ian’s mediation role celebrated on canvas

    Facilitating talks between the Orange Order and Garvaghy Road residents is not something many people would associate with local man Ian Milne, who is probably best known in his role as a funeral director. However, another side to the Portadown businessman has been revealed with the launch of an exhibition featuring people who work quietly in the background to promote peace and reconciliation. Ian is one of 32 people featured in ‘Quiet Peacemakers’ by artist Susan Hughes, and an accompanying book of the same name, launched at an event in Stormont’s Long Gallery. The father-of-three’s interest in mediation developed with the start of the Drumcree dispute in the mid-1990s, when he and Peter Quinn, former president of the GAA, facilitated talks between the Orange Order and residents. He also facilitated talks between both groups and the Prime Minister Tony Blair in an effort to reach a solution. read

  • Family in court over basketball hope for mediation

    A family whose neighbors have taken a court action stopping them from playing basketball in their back garden say they are hopeful mediation can resolve the bitter dispute. Michael and Dawn Thompson, from Temple Manor Court in Walkinstown, Dublin, say their three teenage children are "very upset" after a neighbor brought a noise pollution case to the district court. Mark Burke, who founded and directs IT recruitment firm Hook Head, lives next door to the Thompsons in a semi-detached house and has told the family that their playing is persistent and interfering with his living and that his concerns are shared by other neighbors.  read

  • Mars Hill Leaders May Enter Mediation with Group of 20 Former Pastors

    There may be some movement on the request from 20 former Mars Hill pastors to mediate differences with current leadership. One church representative summarized: "Many months ago, “the 20 elders” sent a letter to the Executive Elders of MHC along with the BOAA requesting mediation for the outstanding issues and unrepentant sin. It has been a slow process but there is finally movement. An outside company has been hired to mediate the issues at hand. I am hopeful that all sides can be heard, sin can be repented of and that an entire culture can be changed." read

  • New Zealand: Mediation for foreign-trained doctors

    The Human Rights Commission says mediation will be attempted in a bid to resolve a dispute involving a group of foreign-trained doctors. About 40 doctors have passed exams enabling them to work in New Zealand, but are struggling to get first-year hospital jobs. Doctors from countries with different health systems must pass an exam before being able to apply for the vital training jobs. They complained that they are excluded from applying amid pressure for the jobs from a growing number of New Zealand medical graduates. The commission will say only that it will facilitate a confidential mediation process. read

  • ‘Community’ in Mediation Center name for a reason

    North Shore Community Mediation Center may be a mouthful, but each word has meaning, according to the organization. As the organization enters its 20th year of bringing mediation services to the communities of Essex County, it said it has lots to celebrate.  Community mediation is for anyone with a dispute: families, neighbors, students, consumers, even friends. As a community mediation center, NSCMC provides low-cost mediation services wherever they are needed: in schools, the workplace, and in the district, juvenile and probate courts on the North Shore. read

  • Namibia: Judge President Accredits Mediators.. to Avoid Life Draining Litigation

    Judge President Petrus Damaseb last week Wednesday accredited 31 court appointed mediators from different professions. The mediators will be engaged in civil litigation to find amicable solutions to what could otherwise be protracted and costly legal proceedings. They will offer mediation free of charge to parties involved in civil action every month. read

  • Judge orders mediation in Whitney bible study case

    A Hill County judge has made a decision in the case between Whitney ISD and the Prairie Valley Baptist Church after reviewing everything from Friday's hearing. The judge has ordered that there be a mediation between the two, and if that does not resolve the problem, then he will make a ruling in the case. The church is at odds with Whitney ISD after the school district refused to allow the church to hold a bible study on the high school campus. The church wanted their ministry to meet immediately following the end of the school day so they could attract students, but Whitney ISD didn't like the idea of students being exposed to a non-school sanctioned organization. read

  • Al-Shabab: Mediation Matters

    In order to break the cycle of vicious violence and series explosions, the Somali government should allow the elders to steer locally owned peace initiatives and mediate between the government and al-Shabab. The current military force has not mitigated the threat of the radical group to the country and the region. Some critics might argue that Somali clan elders have been a part of the conflict in the past two decades. Although some elders were accused of being drivers of the conflict in some regions, a council of elders known as “Guurti” brought sustainable peace to Somaliland and Puntland. The Guurti had the total ownership, and their mediation was based on a bottom-up approach. read

May 2014

  • S.Africa platinum strike mediation talks resume

    South Africa’s platinum producers and a union are due to resume talks on Monday in an effort to stop a four month long strike that has wreaked havoc in the sector. “Discussions will continue today (Monday),” said a spokeswoman for three top producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. Last Friday the employers said three day talks mediated by the Labour Court had produced “no agreement” yet. Around 80,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on January 23 demanding more than double the entry level wage. Workers want a 12,500 rand ($1,200, 875 euros) basic monthly salary before benefits, but employers are offering that as part of a total package and only from 2017. read

  • Using arbitration agreements to manage arbitration cost and risk

    Arbitration has been under attack as too expensive, too cumbersome, too slow, too arbitrary and incurring too many of the costs of litigation but delivering few of the promised benefits of ADR. Below are strategies — many of which may be employed in the arbitration agreement itself — that may reduce some of the perceived risks and costs. Many of these strategies require corporate counsel to be sensitive to issues perhaps more familiar to arbitration counsel, and to ask clients the necessary questions. read

  • Germany Mulls Arbitration for Web 'Right to Be Forgotten'

    The German government is considering setting up arbitration courts to weigh in on what information people can force Google Inc. and other search-engine providers to remove from results. Following a European Union court decision this month granting consumers the “right to be forgotten,” the Interior Ministry in Berlin would seek to establish “dispute-settlement mechanisms” for consumers who file so-called take-down requests. If search providers introduce automatic deletion, public information would be at risk, the ministry said. “Politicians, prominent figures and other persons who are reported about in public would be able to hide or even delete reports they find unpleasant,” it said in a statement. The ministry suggested that the removal of information shouldn’t be left to company algorithms. read

  • Arbitrator, not court, decides arbitration agreement’s enforceability, California Court rules

    A trial court lacked authority to rule on the enforceability of an arbitration agreement when the parties had contracted to delegate questions about the agreement’s enforceability to the arbitrator, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, reversing the denial of arbitration in a wrongful discharge action. Although the agreement’s delegation provision was in an adhesive contract, drafted by the employer and presented to the employee on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and despite the fact the employee stated she was worried she would lose her job if she refused to sign it, the Court found the agreement was enforceable because it was not overly harsh or one-sided, and therefore, not substantively unconscionable. read

  • Breakthrough declared by EU mediator in Russia – Ukraine gas dispute

    There are reports of some progress in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices which has been a further source of tension between the two countries. During talks in Berlin, the two governments are said to be considering payment by Ukraine of $2 billion of back debt by Thursday with a further $500 million to be paid in June. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak appeared up-beat about the proposal: “Our side is prepared, when we receive the payments, to continue negotiations until Friday about prices for future supplies to the Ukrainian site..” read

  • Abunzi Credited With Settling Land Disputes

    The Ministry of Justice has said the community mediators' committees, commonly known as Abunzi last year successfully arbitrated 80 per cent of land disputes across the country. The rest of the cases were adjudicated in conventional courts. This was said on Sunday by Anastase Balinda, the Executive Secretary of the mediators' secretariat in the Ministry of Justice, during an event aimed at sensitizing the public to engage mediators in securing land rights. Balinda said community mediation, especially for land related disputes requires proof and proper understanding of the context of the dispute. "There is no better person to solve such disputes than a mediator," he said. Balinda added that mediators are not only helping the country's judiciary in reducing the backlog of cases ending up in courtrooms but have also enhanced harmony within communities. read

  • Canadian Supreme Court reaffirms importance of protecting confidentiality of settlement negotiations

    On May 8, 2014, in Union Carbide Canada Inc. v. Bombardier Inc., the Supreme Court of Canada rendered an important decision on the confidentiality of settlement negotiations, in the context of private mediations.  Union Carbide Inc. and Bombardier Inc. agreed to participate in a private mediation process. Their mediation agreement contained a standard confidentiality clause, providing that nothing transpiring during the mediation process could be alleged, referred to or sought to be put in evidence in a subsequent proceeding. At the end of the process, the parties thought they had reached a settlement, but then disagreed on its terms. As a result, Bombardier filed a motion to homologate the transaction before the Superior Court of Québec, making it public. Union Carbide moved to strike the allegations pertaining to events that occurred during the mediation, claiming that they were covered by the confidentiality clause in the mediation agreement. read

  • FIFA: Blatter emphasises need for mediation not sanctions on Middle East tour

    President Sepp Blatter says he is determined to resolve the impasse between Palestine and Israel as the clock ticks towards the FIFA Congress in Sao Paolo just before the World Cup when the issue is officially on the agenda amid threats that delegates might be asked to call for Israel's expulsion. Blatter is back in the region for crucial talks with both sides but admits it could prove difficult to persuade Israel to agree to a compromise that would allow Palestinian players and officials to move freely in the occupied territories. read

  • Report: Boise State and AAC heading to mediation over exit fees

    Boise State never officially joined the Big East during the height of the conference realignment madness in the past couple of years, but the university will have to pay some sort of an exit fee after initially agreeing to join the conference. According to a report by The Idaho Statesman, Boise State and the American Athletic Conference are heading to mediation next month to come to a settlement over exit fees stemming from when the university left the conference at the altar. read

  • Making the Grade: Peer mediation

    Peer Mediation has existed at Woburn High School since 1995, but has evolved over time with the advent of social media. Participation is voluntary. "I think since 1995, technology has really changed the school dynamic and how students communicate with one another, so that's the great thing about mediation," said Peer Mediation co-advisor Mary Ees. "It gives them a chance to sit down, actually face one another and speak to one another in person, rather than trying to use Facebook, Twitter, text messaging." read

  • Does Divorce Mediation Work?

    This infographic shows divorce rates, why people select divorce mediation and criteria to determine if divorce mediation is a good choice for you. read

  • State spending nearly $1M on Eastern Corridor mediation

    The state of Ohio is spending nearly $1 million for a third-party mediator, who could soon determine the fate of a major portion of the Eastern Corridor project. The Ohio Department of Transportation has hired Massachusetts-based Consensus Building Institute for $886,000 to interview residents and leaders of Mariemont and Newtown and others opposed to the proposed relocation of Ohio 32. The project is a component of the controversial Eastern Corridor, a $1.4 billion, multi-phase transportation project that envisions a new highway, rail transit, bike lanes and expanded bus routes to make travel safer and less congested between Downtown and eastern Hamilton and western Clermont counties. The Eastern Corridor has been on the drawing boards since the late 1990s, but has received almost no funding. Community leaders say it's ridiculous to spend money on a mediator to get the same answer they've given the state and project proponents for years. read

  • Mandatory Arbitration Offers Bargain-Basement Justice

    The financial services industry is already forming battle lines in advance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's expected proposal to curtail the use of mandatory arbitration in consumer financial contracts. The industry would like to continue its current widespread practice of eliminating consumer access to courts, including the right to bring class actions. Consumers are instead forced to resolve disputes in individual arbitrations with decision-makers chosen by the financial firms. The debate over binding mandatory arbitration comes down to this: Is it fair for a business to effectively force its consumers into a dispute resolution system that it has selected? read

  • Greensboro police will add mediation to complaint process

    Greensboro police are inviting those with certain types of complaints to sit down and talk. The department last week began offering mediation as another way of resolving formal grievances.  The process, which would require the consent of both the complainant and the department, can be used to address accusations of rude behavior and bias-based policing, along with issues that may arise from miscommunication. Mediation will not be used to deal with accusations of corruption or criminal acts. read

  • Wondering What The Difference Is Between Mediation and Arbitration?

    Most Americans know what litigation is even though the majority have likely never been involved in a lawsuit, other than perhaps in small claims court. Many have heard of mediation and arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, but few likely know exactly what they are and how they differ. I will explain the differences in this article. read

  • Taos police partner with mediators in disputes

    When feuding neighbors cannot settle a dispute over a barking dog or parking spaces, it is not uncommon for them to call the police. But Taos Police Department officers will soon be referring local residents who cannot agree to disagree to trained mediators who can help resolve disputes without repeated repeated calls to law enforcement or costly court proceedings. The initiative developed out of a state-funded program to encourage mediation as an alternative to litigation. read

  • Rwanda: Clerics Urged to Support Land Dispute Mediation

    A report by Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD) has urged clerics to leverage the respect they command in society by mediating land-related disputes. This follows a survey conducted in Musanze and Kamonyi districts that found minimal participation of religious leaders in settling land-related issues. The participation of religious leaders would help reduce the number of cases that end up at the mediators' committees, commonly known as Abunzi, it says. The study was part of a one-year project aimed at empowering civil society groups and Abunzi to mediate land disputes. read

  • Can you settle a dispute? Find a job in mediation

    Employment opportunities for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators are expected to grow by 14.6 percent between 2010 and 2020 in the Finger Lakes region, with 20 annual openings, according to the New York Department of Labor. read

  • N.C. Mediation Program Helps Resolve Storm Damage Insurance Claims

    NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced that homeowners whose insurance claims have been denied for damage caused by the April 25, 2014, tornadoes, high winds and severe storms may be eligible for the Disaster Mediation Program. The Governor issued a disaster declaration on May 14 for Beaufort, Chowan, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.  Eligible policyholders in those counties can request mediation if they have had claims for residential property damage partially or completely denied by their insurance company.  read

  • Experts advocate use of mediation in resolving tenancy disputes

    Rather than recourse to litigation in the recovery of premises with the attendant waste of time and resources as well as the deep scar it leaves on the litigants at the end, estate surveyors and valuers and their colleagues in the legal profession have called for the use of mediation as an alternative means of resolving tenancy related disputes. The setting was the launch last week in Lagos of a 66-page book on Recovery of Premises in Lagos State: The Multi-Door Courthouse Approach written by a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Michael Oyagha. The Chairman of the Governing Council of Lagos Multi-door Courthouse, LMDC, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke noted that majority of the cases in the Magistrate Courts in Lagos are related to landlords and their tenants. read

  • Nine Tips for Successful Dispute Negotiation

    In building disputes, a good or bad negotiator can win or lose large sums of money. Here’s how to be a good one. In any negotiation during building disputes, large sums of money can be won or lost depending on the skill of the negotiators involved.  So what makes for good negotiation? Here are a few tips: read

  • Supreme Court of Canada renders key judgment on out-of-court mediation

    On May 8, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous judgment that is important for anyone who participates in private mediations. In Union Carbide Canada Inc. v. Bombardier Inc., the Supreme Court of Canada considered the interaction between the protection granted by private agreements providing for confidentiality of the mediation process and the common law privilege that covers settlement discussions. Specifically, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether a mediation agreement stipulating confidentiality of anything said or written during a mediation displaces the recognized exception to the privilege that allows the parties to prove the terms of a settlement agreement. read

  • U.N. Mediator on Syria Quits

    International efforts to end the war in Syria faltered further on Tuesday as the United Nations mediator quit, citing frustrations over the moribund political negotiations, and France’s top diplomat said there was evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons more than a dozen times after it signed the treaty banning them. Taken together, the two events pointed to the failings of the West’s signature efforts on Syria, finding a diplomatic way out of a civil war in its fourth year — and a pact that was proudly touted as stopping the Syrian government from using chemical weapons. The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, announced that he had accepted the resignation of his special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, who told reporters, “It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state.” read

  • Benin president pardons alleged plotters after French mediation

    Benin's President Boni Yayi has publicly pardoned those accused of trying to poison him in an alleged 2012 coup attempt after the mediation of international figures, including the president of France. The intrigue had fomented tensions in the tiny West African state, a cotton grower that has otherwise enjoyed relative political stability since multi-party democracy was introduced in the 1990s. "I have decided to pardon them," Yayi said on state television on Wednesday night. Those accused of the plot, which never got off the ground, included millionaire cotton magnate Patrice Talon and Yayi's personal doctor. France refused to extradite Talon late last year saying it was not clear he would get a fair trial. read

  • Mediation between Denver Comic Con and co-founder Charlie La Greca concludes

    Mediation between Comic Book Classroom (CBC), the nonprofit parent of the popular Denver Comic Con, and DCC co-founder Charlie La Greca concluded Thursday, but details of the reached agreement are under wraps. A joint statement on the outcome of the mediation reads as follows. "Comic Book Classroom (CBC) and Charlie La Greca are pleased to announce we have successfully completed our mediation. Together we discussed the challenges in growing a successful nonprofit and have come to an agreement about how to move the organization forward with the vision of the original founders, including Charlie La Greca. Both parties are satisfied and have mutually agreed to keep the mediation details confidential, but rest assured that CBC reaffirms its commitment to supporting artists, to the power of comic books in engaging students in the classroom, and bringing Denver the world-class comic convention it deserves." read

  • Mediator hired by General Motors starts talks to settle ignition switch lawsuits

    A mediator for General Motors has begun negotiations about settling more than 300 claims related to a deadly ignition switch problem in some older model small cars. Kenneth Feinberg confirmed in an interview with The Associated Press that he met for four hours Friday with Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas, lawyer who said he represents families of 53 people killed and 273 injured in crashes of defective GM vehicles. Feinberg would not comment specifically on what was discussed. "I'm evaluating various compensation options for GM to consider," said Feinberg, who said he plans to present the options to GM in the next few weeks. read

  • Peacemaker Killed - Spanish Town Activist, Mediator Shot To Death

    Less than a week after articulating his vision for empowering residents of Spanish Town through unity, peace facilitator at the St Catherine capital's Peace and Justice Centre, Mohan Bunwarrie, has been gunned down. According to the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Bunwarrie, who was also a member of the Jamaica Defence Force, was shot and killed about 7:30 Saturday night while having a drink at a bar across from his house in Dempshire Pen, Spanish Town. It was a place where he was a regular domino player. The death of the 45-year-old trained mediator and restorative justice facilitator has been described as a loss for the entire parish of St Catherine. read

  • EU ministers launch European Institute for Peace

    EU foreign affairs ministers launched a new institution on Monday called European Institute for Peace, an initiative that aims to contribute to the global peace agenda of Europe. 9 European countries have committed to fund the first 3 years of the Institute's life. According to the members, recent developments in Ukraine have shown the need for Europe to do more to build peace. 'The European Institute of Peace has the main objective to complement the global peace agenda of Europe and of the EU through operational mediation and informal dialogue with state and non state actors.' said Executive Director of EIP Staffan De Mistura. read

  • What is 'conscious uncoupling'?

    When megastars Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their breakup, they brought the term “conscious uncoupling” to our collective attention. While at first glance conscious uncoupling may seem nothing more than actor-speak for divorce, it merits closer inspection.  Here are strategies for moving gracefully out of a relationship without acrimony and hardship.   read

  • Court Rules We Should Have A Say In What Comes Up When We're Googled

    In a landmark ruling that could rock the Internet search-engine industry, Europe's highest court said Tuesday that people are entitled to some control over what pops up when their name is Googled. The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google must listen and sometimes comply when individuals ask the search giant to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing information about them. The ruling applies to EU citizens and all search engines in Europe, including Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing. It remains to be seen whether it will change the way Google and its rivals operate in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Nor is it clear exactly how the court envisions Google and others handling complaints, which could prove to be a logistical headache if large numbers of people start demanding that information about themselves be removed. read

  • Plaintiff in Silicon Valley anti-poaching suit protests settlement, wants 'day in court'

    Nearly three weeks after Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe agreed to settle out of court a class action lawsuit over alleged anti-poaching agreements, the case's class representative is requesting the $324 million settlement be rejected as "unfair and unjust."  In a letter sent to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday, Michael Devine protested the pending settlement agreed to by plaintiffs' lawyers, saying the proposed $324 million settlement is "grossly inadequate." Devine is one of four plaintiffs named in the suit and serves as class representative in the case. read

  • A global trend towards mediation: views from lawyers in 13 countries

    Whilst mediation is not compulsory (unless there is a contractual clause to that effect), there is a growing trend towards parties attempting it, even in cases where it is unlikely to be successful. It is worth remembering that the use of mediation has also long been encouraged in the US. Against this background, it is interesting to canvass the views of lawyers practicing in 12 other jurisdictions to ascertain whether the cultural shift towards mediation in the UK is reflective of what is generally happening around the globe. read

  • Britz murder case going to mediation

    Murder, assault and other charges against 29-year-old Holly Britz may be resolved today, if a felony mediation session is successful.
    Britz was scheduled for a May 19 trial in Clark Circuit Court for multiple charges from a February 2013 crash. The trial is still on the docket and the trial could take four to five days. In felony mediation, a retired or senior status judge hears from all parties in a case, including prosecutors, the defendant, the victims or their families, and tried to negotiate a resolution. A circuit judge would have to accept and approve the resolution before the case would be resolved. Britz was charged four months after the crash that killed 25-year-old Britta Richmond and injured Edward Robles after sheriff's deputies received the results of toxicology tests on Britz's blood. The tests showed she had high levels of prescription medication that impaired her judgment. read

  • Environmentalists help mediate land disputes in Indonesia

    Environmentalists in Indonesia have begun training their own mediators -- in response to a worsening conflict between small-hold farmers and larger plantation companies in areas plagued by forest fires. The number of conflicts has increased in recent years in communities in Sumatra and Kalimantan. read

  • Singapore: Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking to extend mediation services to more workers

    The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking to extend mediation services to more workers, regardless of job profile and salary. The Tripartite Mediation Framework helps professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) settle disputes and grievances over salaries and contracts with their employers. Today, it is only available to managers and executives who earn up to S$4,500. However, there are plans to scrap this salary cap and include rank-and-file workers at the same time, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at a labour movement event. The type of disputes the mediation framework can address could also be widened, for instance, to cover re-employment. Together with the recently announced proposal for a small claims employment tribunal, the expanded mediation framework, when ready, is expected to give workers access to more avenues of recourse when disputes arise. read

  • Meditation, Mediation, Marketing and Medication

    Last year, I attended a workshop on stress management for lawyers. At the session, the presenter relayed the following anecdote.
    She had recently resigned from the partnership of a large firm in order to pursue her interest in helping lawyers manage stress. But prior to leaving her firm, she had put together a meditation series for lawyers. Shortly before the first session was set to start, she received a phone call from one of her colleagues. He wanted to know where the mediation series was taking place. It was humorous that a lawyer would confuse meditation with mediation. After all, mediation is about resolving conflict. Meditation is about inward focus. As I pondered the two, however, I began to see a relationship. read

  • When Mediation Makes Sense: A Win for Employers and Employees

    A recent article in the New York Times discussed a new law giving unpaid interns in New York the right to sue if they are harassed or discriminated against by an employer. The legislation takes effect in June, a time of year when interns flood New York City seeking opportunities for experience and hopefully paid employment down the road. The article was of particular interest to me, as I had just successfully mediated a matter where discrimination claims against a well-known clothing designer had been brought by 16 former employees. While the employees were not interns, they had brought unpaid wage and racial discrimination claims against their former employer. read

  • Mediator hired by General Motors starts talks to settle ignition switch lawsuits

    Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney who managed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has been hired by General Motors to settle claims from a deadly ignition switch problem and has started talks about compensating victims' families.  Kenneth Feinberg confirmed in an interview with The Associated Press that he met for four hours Friday with Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas, lawyer who said he represents families of 53 people killed and 273 injured in crashes of defective GM vehicles. Feinberg would not comment specifically on what was discussed. "I'm evaluating various compensation options for GM to consider," said Feinberg, who said plans to present the options to GM in the next few weeks. "I'm glad I met with him. It was an interesting meeting," Feinberg said. read

  • China to Encourage Third-party Mediation in Doctor-patient Disputes

    A senior official Monday said that the Chinese government will encourage third-party mediation in doctor-patient disputes. Community workers and social workers can play a better role in mediating between patients and hospitals, said Vice Premier Liu Yandong at a meeting on doctor-patient disputes. There have been many attempts to bring in an independent third party to help settle medical disputes and successful examples will be introduced nationwide, Liu said. Tension between doctors and patients have risen in recent years as a string of assaults on medical workers by patients or their families shocked the country. read

  • Arapaho promote mediation in Wind River Reservation border dispute

    A group of leaders from a Michigan town that successfully mediated a reservation boundary dispute is coming to Riverton, Wyoming, this week to share their story. The former mayor and tribal leaders from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, will be on hand for a symposium today at the Intertribal Building at Central Wyoming College. From 9 a.m. to noon, a panel discussion hosted by journalist Geoff O’Gara will discuss how the town of Mt. Pleasant and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe drafted agreements to resolve long-standing jurisdiction problems. The group is coming to town at the request of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in hopes that their experience might provide a positive example for how to resolve an ongoing boundary dispute at the Wind River Indian Reservation. read

  • Arbitration Is Fair and Efficient for Consumers

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released phase one of its study on the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in connection with consumer financial products and services. Among the study's preliminary findings, the CFPB determined that larger institutions are more likely to use arbitration clauses, arbitration clauses in account agreements can often be complex, and these agreements often contain class-action waivers. The preliminary study, released in December, read alone might also suggest that arbitration clauses could disadvantage consumers. However, because it was only a preliminary look, the report failed to paint a complete picture of the costs and benefits of arbitration. read

  • Mediation Perspectives: Fighting ‘Feminist Fatigue’

    Despite decades of advocacy, why are women still so poorly represented at the peace table? In 2012, UN Women reported that women accounted for just four per cent of participants in 31 major peace processes between 1992 and 2011. Why is this number so low despite international mechanisms like United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women? A partial answer to this question may be found in the shortcomings of certain approaches to promoting women’s rights. In particular, the effectiveness of some strands of academic and policy literature on women, peace and security (WPS), and related advocacy campaigns that push for greater representation and participation of women at the peace table, can be questioned. read

April 2014

  • The Breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian Talks and the Dance of Mediation

    Much has been written about the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which officially expired yesterday. As I wrote in the context of both the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and in the context of mediations in Syria, the readiness of the parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution is the most important factor dictating the success of a mediation, and in this instance, either one or both of the parties is not ready to negotiate. Yet mediators, not just parties, can also trigger a blowup of the mediation without intending to. read

  • New family court system welcomed by solicitors and mediators

    A leading York family law solicitor and mediators have welcomed major changes to divorce and child care proceedings that came into effect earlier this week. Before Easter, three different courts handled the legal part of family break-ups. Now the new Family Court will deal with all the work that previously went to the other three courts. It will also be compulsory for couples to take part in mediation before going to a court to resolve their differences. read

  • A conscious uncoupling

    Gwyneth Paltrow has come in for much criticism over her desire to have a civilized divorce. But, says Catherine Thomas, surely she should be applauded.  Each case and each divorce is unique. None has provoked such a uniquely vitriolic reaction as the headlines that have been spinning over Gwyneth Paltrow’s request on her website for privacy during her divorce. She hoped that as she had ‘always conducted her relationship privately’ the public and press would extend her the same courtesy for her divorce as she goes through the process to ‘consciously uncouple and co parent.’ read

  • Best Practices for Construction Dispute Mediation

    Though I make my living in the courtroom, I have been a strong advocate for the mediation of construction disputes for many years. Quite frankly, it is the best thing ever to happen to the process of resolving construction disputes. While there are many reasons why parties should and do consider mediation, none could be as compelling as its high success rate. Many contracts, including the current AIA forms, give the option for mediation when a dispute arises. In addition, most courts will require mediation as part of the litigation process. Therefore, it’s important to understand the process of mediation. read

  • Singapore children pay up for parents

    The concept of filial piety carries such weight in society that it has even found its way into national legislation. The Maintenance of Parents Act states that any resident over the age of 60 who find themselves in difficulty can apply to a tribunal for their children to provide financial support. The process first involves attempts at conciliation under the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents. If this fails, both sides then go for mediation, and failing that, a hearing before the tribunal. read

  • Grand Canyon Skywalk Litigation Dispute Resolved

    The Grand Canyon Skywalk hovers peacefully over the majestic gorge now as the developer, Grand Canyon Skywalk Development, LLC (GCSD), and Hualapai tribe have reached a settlement after several days of mediation. The resolution ends more than three years of protracted litigation in multiple venues including federal district and appellate courts, the Hualapai Tribal Court, and Hualapai Appeals Court. The Skywalk, located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation northwest of Kingman, Arizona, was the brainchild of visionary developer, David Jin, who had wanted for decades to develop the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. He brought the idea to the tribe of a transparent, cantilever U-shaped bridge that allowed visitors to gaze straight down 4,000 feet into the heart of the canyon and onto the Colorado River. read

  • People looking for a lawyer are turning to the Internet first, survey finds

    Once upon a time, the first thing that an overwhelming majority of people in need of legal representation would do is turn to relatives or friends for personal referrals. Some would consult the Yellow Pages or the local bar association, while only a small handful would use the Internet before any of the other aforementioned options. According to a recent survey conducted by and Thomson Reuters, those numbers have completely flipped around over the last decade. While the Internet was once the least popular option, according to results published last week, using the Web first is now the most popular choice among respondents. FindLaw and Thomson Reuters found that 38 percent of the 1,000 respondents said that they would use the Internet first. That was considerably higher than the other available options: 29 percent of respondents would ask a friend or relative first, 10 percent would go straight to the local bar association; and 4 percent would rely on the Yellow Pages.  read

  • ACC and Maryland heading to mediation over bitter divorce

    A mediator has been assigned for the ongoing court battle between the ACC and Big Ten-bound Maryland. Agreeing to mediation could be a sign that a settlement is coming together, although given the bitterness between the two sides to this point it should not be considered an absolute given.  The Washington Post was first to report the news of the mediation agreement. According to the report by The Washington Post, the mediator’s directive will be “focus the parties’ attention on settlement rather than on trial preparation and to provide a structured opportunity for settlement negotiations to take place.” The mediation meeting must take place before July 10, after Maryland officially joins the Big Ten (July 1 is when schools officially make conference affiliation changes official). read

  • Facebook as Silent Mediator

    It is not an overstatement to say that Facebook has had a significant impact on how people socialize. The website is virtual home to over one billion users. On Facebook, families are better able to stay in touch and old friends have an easier time finding one another. In this world of status updates, likes, event invites and pokes, relationships are made and sometimes even broken. Facebook is the internet’s great silent mediator. read

  • Finra's Arbitrators: Dubious, Asleep—Sometimes Dead

    When a couple in Wichita claimed they lost $187,500 in what they called a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a Morgan Stanley (MS) broker, the industry-funded Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) provided a list of potential arbitrators to resolve the dispute. Two of the people were dead, one for more than two years, according to Diane Nygaard, the couple’s lawyer. She calls the faulty list a sign of a broken system that has failed to protect investors. “If it were a regular judicial system, you would not have a case appointed to people who are dead,” she says. “Wall Street should not have a special pet court that they operate.” read

  • General Mills abandons mandatory arbitration after consumer outcry

    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. read

  • UK: A Little More Conversation: How Mediation Law Change Can Help Take the Element of Dispute From Divorce

    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. read

  • Mediation Skills Help Build High Quality Job Candidates

    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. read

  • New Family Court comes into being amid justice reforms

    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". read

  • Village Mediation mends village fences

    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. read

  • Mediation made divorce 'more respectful'

    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. read

  • Big impact in small claims

    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.”  read

  • Criminal Mediation: Violating Victims' Rights?

    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.  read

  • State To Expand Court-Sponsored ADR Programs

    The Connecticut Judicial Branch has announced a host of initiatives to improve court-sponsored alternative dispute resolution in order to keep up with the demand to resolve civil cases short of trial.  New initiatives announced by Chief Justice Chase Rogers will include expanding the number of judges who are trained to serve as mediators, to begin later this year. There are currently 60 judge and judge trial referees available for the Judicial Branch's ADR program, but many are not available to serve for lengthy periods of time as mediatiors. Increasing the number of judges who are available to provide mediation services on more than a limited basis to help parties reach a settlement will fill vacancies created by several Superior Court judges who left the bench in recent years to start their own mediation practices in recent years, Rogers said.  Another new initiative is to have attorneys appointed to serve as mediators. Rogers said the attorneys could be hired by the branch on a case by case basis, similar to the current appointments of attorney trial referees. "For example, attorneys with particular expertise in construction law, commercial disputes or probate law could be an invaluable asset in resolving those kinds of cases, where a substantice expertise in a specialized area is essential to understanding the issues of the case," Rogers said. read

  • Mediation service looks to settle community disputes in Limerick

    A new mediation service will allow for the resolution of disputes at community level without resorting to the costly and stressful legal route. Run by the Limerick Community Law and Mediation Centre, the new service has been launched by Minister Jan O’Sullivan at Moyross Community Enterprise Centre. Speaking at the event, Moyross PP Fr Tony O’Riordan said: “this is a much needed service for Limerick and in particular those communities identified for regeneration. I believe that a community mediation process will enhance social inclusion by empowering the communities to resolve issues in a non-adversarial way and help to build community relations”. read

  • Judge Orders Detroit Into Mediation Over Regional Water Authority

    A federal judge Thursday ordered this bankrupt city into mediation with its suburbs to reach an agreement on a new regional water authority to oversee water and sewer services currently provided by the city. Months of direct talks between the city of Detroit and the surrounding Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties has failed to produce an agreement on a new authority. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said a regional authority could still be in the best interest of the city and its suburbs. "I also have a sense that this bankruptcy offers a unique opportunity for the creation of that regional authority," Judge Rhodes said. "If we do not take advantage of that unique opportunity, the opportunity in all likelihood will be lost forever." read

  • Judge orders Prime Prep and Fort Worth church into mediation

    A state district judge ordered Prime Prep Academy and Charity Church — where the school held classes until the end of March — into mediation in hopes of settling a dispute over a lease agreement. During a hearing Wednesday state District Judge John Chupp ordered the church and school to begin mediation proceedings in two weeks. Chupp also extended a temporary restraining order for two weeks, and the school will continue not paying rent to the church for the time being. Charity Church and Prime Preparatory Academy are fighting over a lease that called for the school to pay $18,000 a month in rent. The lease was agreed to by former Superintendent D.L. Wallace, who left Prime Prep for a position at Charity Church earlier this year. Prime Prep was co-founded in 2011 by pro football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and Wallace, his business partner at the time. read

  • Short Film MEDIATION to Screen at Beverly Hills Film Festival

    Award-winning filmmaker Francisco's short film "Mediation" is set to screen at the upcoming 14th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival as well as the 9th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival. "Mediation" is the first project released by the brand new Film/TV production company entitled Top Rebel Productions - the brainchild of actor Freddy Rodriguez, Francico Lorite and veteran producer Bill Winett. The short tells the story of a divorce mediation that spirals completely out of control for a husband (Freddy Rodriguez), his soon-to-be ex-wife (Marley Shelton) and their court-appointed mediator (Marilyn Sanabria). read

  • Papal mediator put to test as Venezuela peace talks resume

    When Pietro Parolin was appointed last year by Pope Francis as the Vatican’s secretary of state, the Cardinal said he had been entrusted with a “difficult and challenging mission”. The Italian mediator’s diplomatic skills will be tested fully as he seeks to act as a “good faith witness” in talks that resume on Tuesday between Venezuela’s government and members of its opposition aimed at ending the violent unrest that has left at least 41 people dead in the country over the past two months. read


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