An important article hot off the press from Michael McIlwrath, Senior Counsel-Litigation, GE Oil & Gas, Florence, Italy and Chairman of the Board of the International Mediation Institute.
In many legal environments, mediation has found itself in a bit of a rut, experiencing only very marginal growth. Where mediators are plentiful, they tend to be in chronic over-supply. In the view of many consumers of dispute services, this is not a problem of mediation but of the way it is presented within these particular markets.
Take the UK for example. Having developed initial techniques and training from the US, there are now thousands of trained mediators. However, it is claimed that only about 20 people practice as full time mediators, with perhaps 50 conducting 80% of the country’s mediations. Thousands of others struggle to gain experience and practical skills…
At one and the same time, mediation is being presented with an opportunity to leave its status quo as a local niche activity and become a truly global profession. But the question is – are the mediators and service providers in this field sufficiently responsive to the current environment to make it happen?
To put it bluntly, mediation needs to emerge globally as a profession that is widely understood and accepted, and where competent, trained mediators are instinctively regarded as professionals regardless of their background. Where parties see mediation as an opportunity to come to a conclusion and are much more inclined to accept, rather than reject, a proposal to engage a mediator. Where there are enough competent mediators from all cultures and technical fields that the most suitable can easily be identified… [read more]