Mediation Definition

From the text I wrote for the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. Mediation Manual:

Many definitions of mediation have been put forth. They tend to vary depending on the training and viewpoint of the author. Most make great efforts to be inclusive in their language and this has resulted in wide use of the term mediation and some confusion in its use. The following is a fractionalization of a sample of the definitions found in the literature and in usage in B.C.

[American Bar Association, Price 1995, Family Mediation Canada, Umbreit 1995, B.C. Family Justice, Bush and Folger 1994, Roberts 1988, B.C. Ministry of Children and Families, Moore 1986, Justice Institute of B.C., Folberg & Taylor 1984, Kessler 1978, CLE of B.C. 1992, Law Society Professional Conduct Handbook 1997, O.I.C. 0490 Notice to Mediate Regulation.]

Mediation is…

Method:

1. A process

2. A consensual process

3. Collaborative process

4. A process to attempt to

5. Facilitative, non-adversarial conflict resolution process

6. Consensual and voluntary process

7. Voluntary negotiation process

8. Informal yet structured method

9. A form of intervention

10. An extension and elaboration of the negotiation process

11. Goal directed problem solving intervention

12. Self-empowering conflict management process

Mediator Description:

1. Neutral

1. Has no stake

2. Not identified with any ..competing interests

2. Skilled

3. Qualified

4. Third party

5. Impartial

6. Trained

7. Expert

8. Independent

9. Acceptable

Mediator Does:

1. Helps

2. Assists

3. Facilitates

4. Guides

5. Works with

6. Intervenes

7. Creates opportunities for interest based discussions

8. Structures and facilitates discussions

9. Supports

Mediator works with:

1. Parties

2. Disputants

3. Two adult persons

4. Disputing parties

5. Family conflicts

6. Participants

7. People in conflict

8. Contending parties

Mediator's Intermediate objective/goal:

1. Change communication and negotiation styles

2. Identify issues of conflict between them

3. Build understanding

4. Exploring solutions

5. Talking about the conflict

6. Define problems and goals in (parties) own terms

7. Exercise self determination

8. Assist negotiation

9. Identify issues about which they disagree

10. Uncover needs which must be met

11. Systematically isolate disputed issues…to develop options, consider alternatives…

12. Emphasize participants responsibility

The Objective of the Mediation:

1. Agreement

2. Negotiation

3. Consensual settlement

4. Mutually acceptable resolution/solution/settlement

5. Satisfactory solutions

6. Develop their own solutions

7. Amicable resolution

8. Deciding how or even whether to settle

9. Engender acknowledgement and concern for each other as fellow human beings

10. Decisions

11. Settlements that will accommodate their needs

12. Resolve conflicts, reduce conflict and provide a forum…

13. Peaceful solution

14. Resolve issues in dispute

Of What:

1. Substantive issues

2. A dispute

3. Issues that divide them

4. Matters in issue

5. Issues relating to the marriage, cohabitation, separation or divorce

6. Some or all of the issues in dispute

7. The family's own conflicts.

Mediator Decision Making:

1. Without any power to impose a resolution

2. Not impose a settlement

3. Parties retain authority for making their own decision.

4. No authoritative decision-making power

 
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