Discussion, negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, moderation, ombudsperson, …. and much more conflict resolution terms have in common that they are attempts to respond and to solve to a specific conflict. At the same time, they have differences in structure, approach, intervention and interaction. Mediation has been internationally and inter-academically recognized as the most sustainable conflict resolution process. Albeit many different approaches and understandings of mediation, it can be described as a process in which conflicting parties communicate under guidance and assistance of a neutral mediator in an attempt to bring their dispute to an end. The mediator is not empowered to render a decision, but merely to guide the parties to their own voluntary settlement. If settlement and/or agreement is reached, it then becomes binding through the production of a legal document.
As such, some practitioners and scholars argue, that mediation doesn’t respond to any rules, which leaves the process creative, flexible and very much opened and adaptable to the needs of its users. However, it is hereby suggested, that mediation has a structure, a process that in itself responds to a certain logic, but never imposed upon the parties in order for them to be the decision-makers of their own settlement.
What is the difference between mediation and other forms of conflict resolution, such as arbitration and what is its status compared to litigation?
Stay informed with the next section on mediation 101 / fresh start…