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August 2007: The Joys Of An Independent Mediator

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The Joys Of An Independent Mediator

In my experience a pivotal reason why mediation can work as a way of bringing disputes to an end is that the mediator is an independent party. The independent nature of a mediator is helpful in resolving disputes because:


Emotions are Eliminated
Many disputes focus less on what is the substance of a dispute but more on the parties entrenching because they are angry. As the authors, Robert Fischer & William Ury write in their bestseller, Getting To Yes:

“In a negotiation, particularly in a bitter dispute, feelings may be more important than talk. The parties may be more ready for battle than for co-operatively working out a solution to a common problem. People often come to a negotiation realizing that the stakes are high and feeling threatened. Emotions on one side will generate emotions on the other. Fear may breed anger, and anger, fear. Emotions may quickly bring a negotiation to an impasse or an end.”

A mediator, who is trained to deal with such circumstances by eliminating the emotions, can play a pivotal role in taking some of the heat out of the dispute and setting it on the way towards a settlement. A mediator will separate the people from the problem.

A Fresh Set of Eyes View the Problem
Cases can get bogged down in the detail and all parties can sometimes be at a loss for how to reach a settlement. Often the parties have focused too much on what has gone wrong and/or the detail of the dispute. A mediator who has not been involved in the stress of the dispute as it is going on its downward course into conflict can bring a new perspective and provide an opportunity to use novel solutions and see the case from a new perspective.

This gives the opportunity for the parties to re-evaluate both the strengths and the weaknesses of the case and to see how they can move on.

A Mediator Can See Both Sides of the Argument
This is where an independent third party can play a crucial role in enabling a case to be settled. One of the advantages of a mediation is that it enables issues of real importance to come to the fore rather than those obscured by legal or technical issues advanced by lawyers. Essentially a mediator can use the fact that the parties will divulge confidences enabling them to understand the motivations of both sides. Understandably this is something the parties may be reluctant to do to each other.


Trust is Built with all Parties
A successful mediation is often about understanding the intangible needs of those in dispute. Breakdown in relations often happen due to the fears and resentments which build in a conflict situation. By being independent the mediator can act as a catalyst for the parties working together on new solutions.


Discover the Joys for Yourself
If you are tackling a business or personal dispute that would benefit from an independent hearing you would be wise to consider mediation. For details on how Human Law Mediation can support you in resolving disputes or train your team in mediation skills contact Justin Patten on 01920 462202.
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Brown Emulating Blair’s Mediation Role?
With 71% of the UK population wanting Brown to extricate Britain from it’s close ties with the US he has a difficult role to play over the coming months and years. In our view he’s doing exactly what a mediator does – searching for a contradictory and paradoxical solution.

Making Mediation Work
Half-day briefing session for lawyers.  If the contents on this ezine have made you realise you need to improve your knowledge and understanding of mediation and explore how you can use it to tackle disputes read more here.

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