Mediators don’t decide cases

A recent online newspaper article contained this line: “[T]he case has been ordered to be decided by a mediator.” It’s a basic point and central to the the mediation concept and process: mediators don’t decide cases. Still, it’s not always understood, as so clearly shown in the article.

I occasionally meet people who respond to hearing that I am a mediator with the comment: “Wow, it must be great to tell people what to do.” I explain that I will do many things to help parties reach a resolution of their dispute (or to prevent disputes or help them change their approach to conflict from destructive to constructive.) But a mediator does not decide a case — the parties do.

Posted in ADR: Dispute Resolution Processes, Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Conflict Resolution in the News, Thursday, November 27th, 2008

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