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Mandatory Mediation: Does It Go Too Far Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 25th, 2022

Mediation, as is applied in law, is a model of ADR (alternative dispute resolution), a mechanism of resolving conflicts or disputes involving two or several parties. In most cases, a mediator, helps the afflicted parties to negotiate their own and preferred settlement (facilitative mediation). In different circumstances, mediators may give opinion on fair and reasonable settlement, typically where concerned parties agrees (evaluative mediation) 1, 2.Mediation has a unique structure, schedule and dynamics that widespread negotiation lacks. The procedure is private and classified.

The attendance of a mediator is a paramount identifying characteristic of the procedure 3. Their may possibly be no commitment to the mediation, but in some circumstances, any settlement accord approved by the parties to a dispute will be effectively binding. Mediators exploit diverse techniques to improve, or initiate conversation between the disputants, aiming to assist the concerned parties arrive at an agreement on the disputed issue. Much relies on the mediator’s expertise and training 4, 5.

The mediator ought to be totally impartial. Disputants may exploit mediation in a countless disputes, such as workplace, diplomatic, commercial, community, and legal matters 6. ADR practices consist of Summary Jury Trials, mini-trials, Early Neutral Evaluation, mediation, and arbitration. In my argument I will explore mandatory mediation and if it has gone far.

The core missions of the institutions that will use mediation

Mandatory ADR or mediation is more intently defined as routines such as adjudication which by court ruling or statutes are requested as a requisite to additional reprieve in the judicial or dogmatic system. Therefore, the Mandatory Mediation mission is to anticipate problems, injustice and difficulties involving parties before they evolve into a conflict. This has probable applications in big private sector groups, specifically where they are prone to excessive alteration, competition and financial pressure 7, 8. A principal way mandatory mediation is employed to avert these divergences is complaint handling and management. This is a crisis prevention system designed to treat a grievance efficiently and effectively at first engagement including reducing the possibility of it growing into a dispute 9, 10.

Therefore, the core mission of the institutions using mandatory mediation is to provide a ground that can provide positive results without negative publicity. Considering we are living in touchy society. Citizens or organizations will take legal against for almost anything. For that incredible reason it is vital to understand why mandatory mediation is thus enforced by courts in dealing with diverse issues.

It ought to be noted that organizations do avoid any concept of negative publicity, or any activity that can erode its image, profits, or business links in both civil and corporate world. Mediation is less obvious than legal action not to state it does not affect organizations time, resources, and manpower in general. This illustrates why over 75% of both civil and private organizations employs mediation as divergent to litigation due to the aforementioned benefits 11, 12.Therefore, and the principal mission of institutes that will use mandatory mediation to solve their difference would involve characterizing issues, enlarging options and attaining a jointly agreed decision. The aspects of Mandatory mediation illustrates that it maximizes the exploitation of an advantageous procedures 13, 14.

This is due to the fact that mediation can be used as a tool for conflict resolution as well as a means of conflict prevention.More so, these organizations can utilize mediation to facilitate the procedure of agreement concession by the recognition of common interests and the endorsement of effectual communication amid the two parties 13.

Strengths and weaknesses

However, like any other legal or civil mediation, mandatory mediation equally has its strengths and weaknesses. This can be linked to the fact that if it is underutilized it is seen to be ineffective. While if overused it is seen as being abused. In both formal and informal settings mandatory mediations plays decisive role in thwarting conflicts. Too, it provides a healthy channel of resolving would be disastrous disputes. Legal experts point that mandatory mediation procedures are held in private and this seen as strong aspect of this process. Compared to voluntarily mediation, it thwarts any aspects of negative publicity despite that it is effective.

Another essential element of mandatory mediation in relation to other forms of alternative ADR’s is that it allows the concerned parties to have a win-win configuration. Therefore embarrassing details are not exposed to the public. Also the concerned parties are allowed to handle their grievances independently. Equally another notable characteristic is that mediation is cost-effective and non-binding.

Likewise, Client-generated settlements are highly resourceful than courtroom assessments. Alternatively, one is in a position to know the strengths and weaknesses of the specific claims. Also, mediation presents a room to confront conflicts rationally with a consequence that has more solidity than court structured resolution. Gauged against other forms of ADR, mandatory mediation has been cited to have several weaknesses. Some of these weaknesses are linked to the fact that majority of legal experts do not advocate mandatory mediation. This illustrates there exist unspoken resistance against this process.

A good illustration is that most of the legal personnel’s are a product of adversarial legal system. Therefore, they have been trained to win rather than focusing on aspects of solving cases. And this is a critical weakness within the mandatory mediation procedures considering lawyers, as well as judges have been trained on how to criticize, persuade, and argue, rather than listen, amalgamate, and empathize.

Moral principles and values are employed as the guidelines for any successful mandatory mediation. However, mediation does not guarantee the protection of private rights, jurisdiction over enforcement, redress, or remedies sought by civil action. Despite such challenges mandatory mediation has grown to be a decisive factor in tackling numerous issues both in private and public domain.

It should be noted that where the mandatory mediation exposes an aspect of weakness the court has the authority to seal the leak. Therefore, no matter the approach, both the lawyers and judges have to abide by the aspects as well as the scopes of mandatory mediation.

Negative influences of ADR on the courts

In regard to the above observations mandatory mediation plays a critical role in solving numerous civil and private disputes. However, examining the immediate influences of mandatory mediation in regard to other ADR’s, it is emerging that some of these ADR are influencing the courts negatively. Unlike the mandatory mediation which is frequently enforced by the courts. Such ADR’s as voluntarily mediation are giving legal experts such as advocate’s decimal control and reduced role in courts.

Equally, ADR involves less time and therefore less payment, and most experts assume that by suggesting the use of ADR, the rival counsel may assume this to be a sign of weakness or a weak case. Another aspect viewed as influencing the court negatively regards the fact that most ADR are less recognizable and less controlled than adjudication. In such a scenario, the scope of mandatory mediation in regard to other elements of ADR becomes the highly preferred mode of ADR.

Therefore, in regard to values of adjudication, such ADR as voluntarily mediation or arbitration prevents the growth of required legal developments on matters needing authoritative civil decisions. Also mediation destabilizes the protection of parties’ legal provisions.

In the primary stages of ADR, the widespread prospects pertaining to the effects ADR would have on courts are basically in twofold: relieving the court of congestion and persistent delays. And this is anticipated to increase public contention with the legal mechanisms. However, a number of scholarly studies have established that ADR is in some instances influencing courts negatively. Some of these influences are in essence beneficial to the disputants 16. For instance, the emerging lucrative opportunities within the private ADR’s are forcing judges to retire early from the public bench. Also ADR procedures commonly do not provide the similar procedural protections as litigation 17, 18.

This has resulted less formal discovery including relaxed rules regarding evidence presented. And this has resulted in instances where a court is denied a chance to issue either binding adjudicatory guidelines, or binding arbitration. Thus, less procedural protections are harmful to court operations. The rise of ADR’s has resulted in decreased support for the public justice system 19, 20. There is apprehension, however, that through the spontaneous obligation of ADR processes in pacts of adhesion, a authoritative private concern is rerouting a particular group of cases from the courts, obstructing the improvement of law in that exacting area 21.

Does the mandatory mediation fulfill the missions?

Regarding the above observation ADR in general has opened door for conflicting parties to resolve their differences, but in particular mandatory mediation which has been enforced to compel conflicting parties to settle their issues through non-conventional judicial platforms22, 23. This illustrates mandatory mediation has facilitated parties to resolve issues without the extreme expenses correlated to litigation. Court enforced mandatory mediation provides a healthy environment for facilitative mediation which is principal facilitative and collaborative in nature 24.

Compared to other ADR programs mandatory mediation has emerged as an effective tool capable of reducing court cases, disputes as well as common legal costs. And this indicates why most states are developing statutes that permits the courts the latitude to compel conflicting parties to mediation if found necessary.

Therefore, the introduction of mandatory mediation allowed the courts to compel parties to mediation without their consent. Also as tool of mediation it facilitated the unwilling parties to mediate. This indicates unlike any other ADR program mandatory mediation permitted the courts to overrun the disputants decision to end their disputes by a third party in court trial.

On one hand, it is correct that mandatory mediation offers a proficient approach of handling legal disagreements for organizations and courts. Compelling contestants to the mediation slab appears as if to raise the likelihood of reaching a resolution considerably more rapidly than before.

In general, Mandatory mediation has helped courts to make their dockets swifter by raising the figure of out-of-court agreements. In instances of weighty caseloads, a defrayal instrument that would accelerate the courts’ turn-around instances in addition to curtailing waiting catalogs for trials. Mandatory mediation can thus be said to have increased likelihood of settlement while making the parties plus the courts to save time and capital, in addition to ensuring satisfaction guarantee to the parties’ outcome. Reflecting on such observation mandatory mediation can be said to have fulfilled its objectives or missions in as far as disputes resolutions are concerned.

As illustrated by the previous argument the wisdom and dynamics of mandated mediation are solidly etched in the legal domain. Therefore, the know-how of the courts, specifically the experimentation with the mandatory mediation, implies that if novel procedures supersede the old, they may actually threaten the proficiency of an institution to accomplish its central objective. The mechanism of checks and balances that typify the governmental approaches offers an apposite, practical representation to address this risk. For instance, it is established that mandatory mediation can be exploited to limit citizen’s access to values-based mediation.

If the partakers are capable to choose out effortlessly from mandatory mediation, nevertheless, this degree of personal discretion puts a significant check upon several adjudicators tendency to force all disputants into mediation regardless of its significance or aptness. And this includes the mediators who with a tendency of overaggressive attitude. In reality, the stipulation of checking the adjudicators and mediators authority illustrates that mandatory mediation serves as an appendage or complecement to the traditional functions of the courts.

Equally, though novel procedures may nurture resourceful consideration and democracy, they may also become subject of abuse and be employed to limit the populace’s access to public pronouncement making. The people should as a result persist to be in a position to access and utilize referenda as well as other conventional aspects of legal and political engagement.

In regard to the above observations there are diverse schemes employed in the execution of dissimilar ADR programs including the mandatory mediation before getting to trial. One of these schemes involves all civil cases or certain type of cases being subjected to mandatory mediation or alternatively other forms of ADR. Exploring the dynamics of mediation and in particular mandatory mediation achieving the objective of effective justice is the key aspect of this scheme. Therefore, to facilitate effective channel of mediation most ADR programs have established monitoring as well as evaluating procedures employed to ascertain whether the selected ADR is effective.

However, regarding mandatory mediation this approach cannot achieve the value of mediation. Examining OMMP (Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program) certain form of conflicts may require, or specific partaker’s desire, a more evaluative process. And these evaluative mechanisms are distinct from the aspects of mandatory mediation. Thus, considering the diverse programs of dealing with conflicts, this scheme is best suited for family related conflicts.

This is due to the fact that it is more of an “interest-based” approach. Typically, interested-based procedure is known to be etched in the tenets of addressing fundamental interests and equally encourages greater pool of available solutions. In regard to mandated mediation this approach is in a way insufficient and it cannot attain the core aspects of mandatory mediation. Those parties involved in mandatory mediation assume that they have attained an adequate opportunity to give and present their views and more so the mediator is well versed with the issues disputed.

This illustrates that the concerned parties are allowed to structure their own procedures and subsequently determine the end results. And this is a paramount strength; however, this approach is weakened by the fact that it is not effective in commercial mediation. Rather, it is suitable for interpersonal grievances. Therefore, it is not commonly exploited within the scope of mandatory mediation. This scheme allows the aggrieved parties to control the entire mediation process. The problem with this scheme is that the court may employ selective procedures of denying the serious disputes the nature of hearing they deserve. And that’s why disputing party’s judge mandatory mediation as highly effective when the mediators assess the values of their conflicts.

The other scheme involves the Judge having discretion to refer to ADR only those cases that he/she deems appropriate. This scheme in regard to mandated mediation is instrumental and valuable to the conflicting parties. According to legal scholars this scheme is seen to be one of the key elements of effective ADR programs. This is allied to the fact that it allows the courts to determine which issues are appropriate for mandatory mediation. In regard to the UK, this scheme is considerably effective. However, the English adversarial legal aspects had before impacted on the growth and the use of ADR. Examining the growth and the use of mandatory mediation in the UK today; numerous changes have been recorded in the Civil Procedure Rules.

Though, there are no devoted sections of ADR or mandatory mediation in the law, however, they are referenced in the course of legal jurisdiction. Nevertheless, there have been a countless local court designs in the UK establishing judicially suggested as well as, mandatory ADR. These comprise plans in the Patents Court, the Court of Appeal, and Technology and Construction Court (TCC) in addition to the Central London County Court. In essence, this scheme illustrates that it’s suitable for almost all disputes. However, the key weakness can be linked to the courts procedure of determining which cases are suitable for mandatory mediation.

Comparing this scheme with other parameters executed within the tenets of ADR programs such an approach could derail the legal aspects of the involved parties. Also, though the judge may have the legal support of giving direction, but enforcing the aspects of these approaches could be difficult. Since mediation is normally far less costly than court, some agreements have a clause that obliges mediation or a different type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as arbitration, for almost all disagreements.

Given that most ADR do not end in a lawfully binding pronouncement, agreements that consent the process as a rule make it an antecedent to a conventional court examination. Mandatory arbitration, thus, is typically positioned in an indenture as a substitute to court, given that it results in an obligatory decision. Agreements that may possibly have mandated mediation embrace prenuptial unions and service agreements.

Therefore, in this regard judge discretion may possibly be affected by the parties’ requirements especially if one party walks away. Therefore, in regard to the dynamics of mandatory mediation this scheme may work well where the parties had shown unwillingness to mediate. However, where the parties are ready to mediate this scheme cannot achieve the intended aspects of mediation. And this can indicate that where parties are willing the scheme is weak for it relies of the courts direction and enforcement. In essence, it instrumentally achieves the values of mandatory mediation.

Another profound scheme relates to where the judge only suggests possibility of settlement by ADR and leaves it up to the parties to decide. It should be realized that mandatory mediation becomes effective due to the courts involvement in compelling the disputing party to sit in mediation table. The problem with this approach in regard with the dynamics of mandatory mediation it cannot fulfill decisive outcome. This is allied to the fact that in comparison to other ADR programs mandatory mediation is enforced by the court. Therefore, where the judge allows the disputing the parties to decide on the best approach to resolve their differences it can backfire.

The mentioned scheme is good in solving rudimental disputes or interpersonal conflicts, but very weak in sustaining strong aspects of mediation in regard to commercial or civil disputes. Therefore, examining the dynamics of mandatory mediation, the judge can only compel the parties to mediate. But the judge doesn’t have power to make them agree. However, though these schemes are essential in dealing with diverse aspects of grievances. They operate differently in diverse jurisdictions. That is why, for instance, in several Canadian provinces, nearly all cases, particularly civil disputes akin to disputed parks, trusts and alternate decisions issues are submitted to mandatory mediation except there is a court order excusing them.

Due to the courts proposal of settlement through ADR this scheme fails to attain the fundamental values of mediation. Hence, this scheme permits the disputants to conceal essential information apposite for solving their differences.

In mandatory mediation the parties are forced by the court to be accountable and transparent. Therefore, this scheme is generally very lenient. In essence, the scheme where the judge refers the cases which he deems appropriate for mediation stands as the best scheme to be exploited. This is due to the fact that it gives the courts the time to examine and weigh the issues disputed 25. On the other hand it allows the disputants to explore their conflicts 26, 27, 28.

Therefore, in relation to mandatory mediation this concept can be incorporated and used to enhance the application of mandatory mediation by courts. Also this approach is essential in that it is efficient for both the courts and the parties. In general, this scheme allows the Mandatory mediation to lessen self-determination by transmitting the decision to connect in mediation from the disputants to the court. Alternatively, the negation of parties to go to arbitration is often was generated by a lack of adequate information concerning the procedure itself. In this regard this can help the court in facilitating as well as enforcing mandatory mediation successfully.

“Voluntary and mandatory” mediation

Mediation of a claim or a dispute may take place as a consequence of voluntary private accord, communal program, or court order (which may entail statutory mediation of specific issues before a trial). Nevertheless, the phrase, mandatory mediation illustrates that the concerned parties are forced to seek solution proceeding to the trial. Nonetheless, the decision of recognizing the declaration of the mediation and resolve the issues stay voluntary.

However, if the concerned parties fail to resolve their differences, they can opt to continue to litigate the issue. A voluntary concord to mediate a disagreement may pre-exist the disagreement. As in a private agreement proviso in which the involved parties consent to mediate any disagreement that may occur in the future. Alternatively, a resolution to mediate may occur after a disagreement has already taken place and the parties are simply taking into consideration alternative way to determine the issue without going to court.

Therefore, looking at the manner mandatory mediation is implemented, as well as the benefits of voluntary mediation. There is a need for the courts to examine the extents of not inflicting any loss to either of the parties. Both aspects of mediation are instrumental in seeking remedies. However, the courts should not enforce mandatory mediation where voluntary mediation can work.

Legislative mandatory mediation as a rule governs rows regarding certain issues, such as employment relations, children matters (custody disputes), or customer matters.

Thus, due to the diversity and dissimilar approaches to mediation it becomes essential for the courts to have definite extents by which they set against both the mandatory and voluntary mediation. More so, the courts should be aware that both mandatory and voluntary mediation fulfill one objective, to resolve disputes. Therefore, the court cannot overlook the perspective of the involved parties in both approaches.

Regarding the scope and wisdom of mandatory mediation injecting new concepts would be instrumental. The institutionalized alternative processes would be imperative in the manner mediations are handled. It should be noted that the efficiency of mandatory mediation depends on the approach employed.

Therefore, where the courts are enforcing mandatory mediation it would be essential to reflect on the expected outcomes. Of immense concern to mandatory mediation is the relevance of privacy and discretion canons to the parties implicated in mediation, as well as the mediator. Parties who partake in mediation are regularly lead to believe that the mediation procedure involves a classified and private assembly that is intended to promote and foster an environment where involved parties can determine their disagreement without fear of the minutes of the meeting being leaked out.

As mandatory mediation becomes considerably institutionalized within national and federal control, the novel regulations are necessary to enhance transparency. Hence, having well defined disputant protection is essential.

The institutionalization of new, alternative processes would help in ascertaining good faith involvement, privacy concerns, in addition to the capability to implement mandatory mediation accords 29. Hence, all of these concerns ought to be appraised cooperatively as they pertain to the general aims and concerns of both partakers as well as the court system.

Therefore, by introducing mandatory mediation courts are in a position to decrease case loads as well as adversarial litigation 30. This is a crucial improvement in regard to institutionalization of mandatory mediation along with other ADR’s. This is illustrated by the partakers who understand sanctions of mediation to self determine the agreements. This has also been testified by the manner parties’ embrace mandatory mediation as a substitute to expensive and probable injurious litigation 31. These gains are hyped and declared often at the costs of neglecting to assess the costs linked to delayed proceedings, common misunderstanding from non-uniform principles, and official insinuations of power disproportions played out.

However, Mandatory mediation alone cannot entirely mirror the standards and prerequisites that have made mediation so flourishing for enthusiastic parkers, but can give parties in disagreement a chance to attain a mutual pledge to a disagreement in an analogous, but more synchronized procedure. Nationwide approval and execution of the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA) and mediator instructions are also assisting in dealing with areas of privacy, discretion, as well as enforceability of contracts. These changes have occurred due to the institutionalization of mandatory mediation processes of dealing with disputes. However, institutionalization has been achieved through the implementations of new statutes and laws.

At the present mandatory mediation faces institutionalization via innovative decrees and laws, adversaries to mandatory mediation query the enforceability of mediation accords when either of the parties fails to obey with contract settlement.

Failure to abide by with an accord can occur due any figure of potentials, like bad-faith involvement, novel information that would have predisposed a parties’ conformity, and disproportions in supremacy when one disputant exploits mediation as a way to pressurize information or to affect augmented delay or monetary cost to the conflicting party.

Examining the entire scope mandatory mediation in regard to other aspects of ADR, it can be argued that it has gone incredibly far. This can be testified by the manner global governments are embracing mandatory mediation in tackling both domestic and international conflicts. In brief, mandatory mediation has delivered the anticipated objections.

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