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Should We Make Mediation in Conflict Compulsory

Ahmed Ayed

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Should We Make Mediation in Conflict Compulsory

About Mr. Michael Bartlet and this TKS episode:

Mr. Michael Bartlet is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Law at SOAS University of London. In this episode of The Know Show Podcast, he shares his thoughts on mediation in conflict, its meaning, and its impact on the public and individual. Mr. Michael Bartlet worked as a supervisory solicitor for Gateshead Law Centre before being appointed as Parliamentary Officer for the Society of Friends (Quakers). He also worked on asylum rights as a trustee of the Refugee Council and chair of the Asylum Rights Campaign. He’s now teaching ADR at SOAS London.

 

A brief synopsis:

In this TKS episode, we explain the meaning and the importance of mediation. Mr. Michael Bartlet starts by covering his background and how he noticed the inappropriateness of the adversarial process for many private dispute resolutions. Working for the Society of Friends (Quakers), Michael wanted to influence the law from a public interest perspective, finding peaceful and alternative dispute resolutions.

He explains that a mediator is responsible for the process of resolving a dispute. However, he outlines that it is up to the disputants to agree whether they will settle their conflict. Michael then delves into examples of problems that he’s mediated, for example, poorly built housing, problems with parking, maintenance of boundary disputes, and intergenerational disputes.

Mediation is third-party facilitated negotiations. It's where a third person, not a judge, an arbitrator, or an adjudicator, helps two or more parties to find the resolution to their dispute.

Mr. Michael Bartlet

 

Michael states that disputants must be willing to compromise, to try mediation. The best place for this to happen is where the disputants are away from the environment of their dispute, and can resolve their problems in a more neutral space. Michael then goes on to talk about his work on mandatory mediation.

Importantly in this TKS episode, Michael critically analyses the way that civil mediation has become an industry. Although a relatively unknown process, he discusses its benefits in enabling mediation to avoid cases needing to go to court, hence why it should be compulsory. He discusses both the advantages and disadvantages to this, and methods that can be used to encourage people to try mediation.

When you work in mediation, it's crucial to actively listen and be listened to, as it is to speak. I think it's about trying to understand the differences also between the positions that a party adopts in the dispute, and what their underlying interests and values are. It involves empathy and sort of psychological skills acting as a mediator.

Mr. Michael Bartlet

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TKS take home points:

In this TKS episode, we are given new perspectives on the process of mediation in conflict. Michael makes clear that mediation is not about the decision a judge makes, but that it centres around how the parties involved are given the space to negotiate their interests, to ensure everyone leaves feeling as thought they have benefitted from the process.

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