Tuesday, May 6

Mediator as juror

Massachusetts mediator Patrick Field got called up for jury service at the Middlesex County Superior Court in January.

'As a mediator and citizen, I asked myself: how could two professionals - not to mention the judicial system - let a case of so little cash value wind its way all the way to a jury trial at such great legal expense? Frankly I felt like the parties were wasting the Court’s time, the jurors’ time, and my tax dollars... Yet the case reminded me why mediators have such an important, but difficult, job in supporting justice, civil society and social capital. Many parties simply cannot find a way out of escalating conflict and assume that justice can only be served in the courts'.

He learned that;

Justice is not divined; it is negotiated
Justice is blind
Juries deliver verdicts, not necessarily justice

Read more at Mediator as Juror: A Day in Middlesex County Superior Court

1 comment:

John Lassey said...


I especially liked his observation to the effect that the parties were turning over their negotiations to strangers, who were only represented with a snapshot of the case.

To his list of barriers to settlement, however, I would add inertia; if one wanted to negotiate, the other was likely focused on something else at the time. One of the values of mediation is that it is scheduled; i.e., all sides must bring themselves up to speed on the same case at the same time. This usually occurs at trial, but, unfortunately, adrenaline often takes over by then.