Mediation roles

Mediation Roles

Above, I’ve provided a link to a handout I’ve developed which provides a brief overview of roles in mediation.  I find it useful when I explain mediation to participants.  Other descriptions that I recommend are on the NADRAC [National ADR Advisory Council] site and the MSB [Mediator Standards Board] site.  I developed my description from the NADRAC one in particular.

The handout is a brief overview of roles in mediation.  In summary, the role of participants is to be responsible for the content of the mediation. They decide on the ‘what’ of their mediation.  Participants then take responsibility for their substantive decisions.  In some situations, the participants might choose to consult the mediator regarding the content.  The mediator may then decide to provide generic information; not advice.

The mediator is responsible for the process of the mediation, the ‘how’ of mediation.  The mediator might tentatively consult participants regarding the process in a way which maintains their even handedness.  They then take responsibility for their procedural decisions.

Mediator’s Opening Comments

For me,  opening comments set up a contract between me, myself and I and a contract between myself and the mediation participants.

I think of my opening comments as setting the tone and establishing accountability for the procedural aspects of the mediation.  How do participants experience  my opening comments? John Wade is probably right when he says that nervous participants hear little more than a blur.  What’s important to me is that it’s a competent, confident, comforting blur which can be repeated and referred to as needed throughout the mediation.

Below is a link to a Practice Note I wrote on the Mediator’s Opening Statement for the Australian Dispute Resolution Bulletin, now absorbed by the Dispute Resolution Centre at Bond University. In those days I thought of it as a Statement. For some time I have been delivering Mediator’s Opening Comments which are more in keeping with the ambiance of  mediation.

Some Thoughts on Mediator’s Opening Statements