During the intake process, each party of the mediation may be given general information about the subject matter of their dispute and about the coordinator who will be communicating prior to the mediation. This not only defines the role of the coordinator, but provides an expectation of the communications the parties can expect from the CDRC. Pre-mediation information intake may be difficult, if not impossible, to complete over the phone or in person. Often, an email containing a questionnaire will be electronically delivered to each participant with instructions to complete them properly. These questionnaires may also be mailed to an address provided by the individuals involved. This protects the agency and the mediator from preemptively assuming any bias for or against a party. Guidelines- Intake Question Model The questionnaire should collect enough information to identify appropriate mediator(s) for the matter determining the location and spatial needs for the mediation. At a minimum, a questionnaire usually consists of a general explanation of the mediation process to learn more about the dispute:
Questions to determine the parties and any relationship the parties have to one another.
Are there any parties that are underage or, as with custody/visitation matters, are there underage individuals who are the subject matter of the dispute and will not be a party in the mediation? Profile the Parties and subject matter
Define the nature of the dispute. Would the exchange of money/value be a predictable vehicle to reach resolution? Or would the realm of resolution involve behavior-based changes of the parties? Or the matter and its resolution is more contingent on the parties’ continued failure to communicate. Choose a style: evaluative, transformative, or facilitative.
Could the matter or dispute be more defined by bringing a potential team together to succeed in future efforts through facilitation? Remember, the intake coordinator will conduct the intake with both parties. The information collected at intake is imperative to a successful mediation. It is important to note that there is a public policy of not allowing parties in litigation to bring mediators into court to testify with regards to items discussed at a mediation session. Most mediators would not be enthused about the prospect of being brought into court to testify about the interactions and statements made in a mediation, nor does the public policy support the concept of using mediation as a fact-finding device for litigation. With this protection, mediation is frequently used as a resolution process that allows the parties to express more freely their thoughts and ideas with the goal of finding resolution to their conflict (Lang, 2012). Reference- Lang, M. (2012). Mediator-subpoenaed? Retrieved from http://www.mediate.com/articles/LangM3.cfm
Instructions-Consider the variety of conflicts an intake mediator may see, refer to the “Intake Question Model” from Module 2 which provided suggestions on how to collect the following information:
The involved parties or disputants and their relationship
The profile of the parties and subject matter
The general nature of the dispute or conflict to be mediated
Questions to determine if there is a need for a team In addition, remember, it is important to address the costs to the parties. The service provider’s ability to connect on a community level with the parties is an important factor, as well as consideration of any external forces that may come into play, such as a court or governmental agency. Using this, For each scenario • Determine the most appropriate mediation style (transformative, facilitative, or evaluative) to address the dispute type, and justify your answer. • Discuss the pros and cons of choosing a CDRC or a private sector mediator to handle the mediation. • Customer/merchant dispute about a defective product sold to the customer by the merchant. • Small claims court referral for a matter involving a homeowner’s picture window that was broken by the neighbor’s 15-year-old son. • Co-workers’ dispute regarding the use and daily care of shared office equipment. • Five neighboring homeowners complaining about having to pay part of the repair cost for emergency repairs to a municipal sewer line that served the five homes. The matter was referred by the mayor of the town that manages the sewage system. • An organic farmer and a non-farmer (new neighbor) complaining about the barnyard flies all over their backyard and asking the farmer to spray pesticides to get rid of the flies.
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