LAWYERS AND MEDIATION: A PERFECT MATCH?

Increasingly, mediation is seen as preferable alternative to pursuing a trial. Not only does it afford parties and their respective counsel the opportunity to discuss and negotiate around the matters at hand without driving up costs, it also saves taking up the valuable time of the courts. Furthermore, the mediation process allows both sides of the dispute to reach a fair and amicable consensus with the aid and input of a neutral party.

During the mediation process, parties have the opportunity to move beyond the rigid formalities and legal rules that can hinder resolution in a cordial manner; however it is important to note that their ability to do so depends largely upon the mediator’s understanding of and approach to the conflict they are faced with.

As the popularity of the modern mediation process grows, the question of who makes the better mediator – lawyers or non lawyers – abounds.

Arguably, the decision of whether to appoint a lawyer or a non lawyer mediator varies depending on the case as much as on the abilities and background of the mediator in question. In some instances it may be more appropriate to have a trained lawyer who is well versed in the theory and practice of mediation.

Oct-Dec 2013 issue

Richard Summerfield