One way of looking at the mediation process is as a means by which disputants can explore the possibilities for resolving their differences, it being understood that the outcome of the process is entirely up to them. It’s often said, ‘the disputants own their differences while the mediator owns the process’, or something to that effect. But if mediation is predicated on self-determination, then party-choice should be privileged not just for substance but also process. Party-choice may be impinged on when the mediator sets the ground-rules (i.e., her preferences for the process) of the mediation.
Watch this trailer for a new film, “Mediation”, that is a commercial take on the disconnect between mediator ground-rules and process outcomes:(Hat-tip: Rick Weiler)