Saturday, March 29

What a Judge needed to unlearn before he became a mediator

Nice post over at the mysterious (adventures in learning the practice of mediation) about the power of the process.

"I had a great learning moment in my PON class last night... Our student mediator shared that not being a judge, not being able to provide any legal advice or make any decisions about the case, he was uncertain where to go.

As mediators, if we reveal this all to the parties, what would they think? What power would we have?

That’s when light bulbs blinked on over all of our heads. We could see it. The power of the mediator lies in the process"


Have a look at this UK Court of Appeal Judge's take on what he had to unlearn to become a mediator after 18 years on the Bench.

Thanks Human Law Mediation


michael webster said...

I am confused about this, probably since PON confuses the heck out me anyways.

If you have a dispute with legal contours, it is going to be hard to mediate it unless you can establish some authority about how the dispute may fare in the legal process - something more helpful than: boy, it sure does cost a lot to go to court, eh?

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that a mediator with no legal training is at a disadvantage in attempting to mediate a dispute filled with legal issues. The more interesting question is whether the "authority" you refer to comes (or should come) with years on the bench any more than with years of legal practice, particularly if the judge has no real expertise in the subject matter of the case. An attorney with subject matter expertise is more likely to have an accurate (authoritative?) conception of how the dispute may fare than a retired judge with no particular expertise. If and how well the non-lawyer, lawyer and retired judge mediator utilize "the process" is another matter.

Anonymous said...

Geoff, thanks for the link!

Perhaps it would be helpful if I elaborated a bit about the situation noted in my blog.

The case we were role playing was not necessarily one filled with legal issues. It was a landlord-tenant dispute that in my opinion could have easily been resolved by a skilled mediator regardless of legal background.

That's why I noted my fellow student's observation. It struck me that one might feel the need to be a judge when the process has the power to help parties reach resolution.