Mediation – probably the most popular form of ADR – comes in many forms. At the Centre for Negotiation and Dialogue, we practice (and teach) an interest-based facilitative approach. This approach recognizes that in addition to the substance of the dispute, relationships, emotions and process are equally important. The approach is also flexible enough to adapt to different situations; some disputes are very substance based while others require a bit more attention to the interpersonal dynamics. We believe that in any situation, the disputing parties are the ones best equipped to make the decisions that will impact the solution. The mediator's job is to facilitate the conversation and to assist the parties in breaking down the dispute into issues that are negotiable and ones that are not, and to help them identify common interests and problem-solve the areas where interests diverge. Mediation is commonly – and accurately – described as assisted negotiation.
We offer mediation services in the following areas:
- Non-profit and governance
Do I need a lawyer?
Some lawyers offer mediation services. Lawyers have legal expertise which can be reassuring for the disputants.
That said, the practice of mediation is very different from the practice of law. A mediator is a neutral third-party who does not provide expert content advice. Providing legal opinion or advice compromises neutrality and could constitute the unauthorized practice of law. Recognizing that mediation only works if disputing parties are able to make informed decision, mediators often recommend that parties seek independent legal advice in conjunction with the mediation. In some cases, the lawyers will be asked to take part in the mediation sessions.