Creative Mediation System in British Columbia: A Model For Us All

By:  Donald L. Swanson “We have been much struck by the system operated in British Columbia whereby a party can issue a notice to their opponent in a specified form requiring mediation.” “[T]he establishment” of such a system “has led to the growth of informally agreed mediation as a norm” with the formal procedure “only... Continue Reading →

Evolutionary Progress of Mediation is Upward: Toward Greater, Earlier and Mandatory Use

By: Donald L. Swanson “Perhaps no idea has proven more controversial within evolutionary biology than the idea that evolution manifests progress.” --T. Shanahan (7/16/2012) The track-on-a-graph for mediation progress is, without question or controversy, upward! The formal and frequent use of mediation to resolve lawsuits in the U.S. dates back to experimental programs of the... Continue Reading →

Setting Interim and Ultimate Goals for a Mediation Effort

By Donald L. Swanson “the Court finds that mediation may be an efficient and effective mechanism . . . to consensually resolve or narrow the objections to the plan.” --Hon. Stuart M. Bernstein, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District of New York, in Avaya Inc. mediation referral Order dated 9/13/2017 (emphasis added). We can all take a... Continue Reading →

A Recommendation for Mandating Mediation in England and Wales

By: Donald L. Swanson The voluntary mediation scheme “does remain under-used.” --October 2017 Interim Report on Mediation in England and Wales England’s Civil Justice Council is an Advisory Body established under the “Civil Procedure Act 1997” to oversee and co-ordinate “the modernization of the civil justice system.” On January 28, 2016, the Council formed a Working... Continue Reading →

An Example of Mediation Success in Hostile and Difficult Circumstances (City of San Bernardino Bankruptcy)

By Donald L. Swanson Timeline for a Plan Confirmation Dispute November 11:  Creditor requests an order requiring mediation November 14 (a.m.):  Debtor objects to request for mediation order November 14 (p.m.):  Court orders mediation December 6:  Debtor and creditor reach a settlement agreement February 7:  Debtor’s bankruptcy plan is confirmed This timeline is from a... Continue Reading →

A “Compelling Reason” for Mandating Mediation: to Advocate for its Use

By:  Donald L. Swanson “Studies show that parties who have entered mediation reluctantly still benefited from the process even though their participation was not voluntary.” D. Quek, Mandatory Mediation: An Oxymoron? Examining the Feasibility of Implementing a Court-Mandated Mediation Program, Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 11:479, at 483 (Spring 2010). Dorcas Quek is arguing... Continue Reading →

A Futile Attempt at Ignoring Mediation Obligations

By:  Donald L. Swanson There’s a lawsuit now in progress in a Florida Federal Court over a local pub. The Pub Dispute Plaintiff claims to be "a franchisor” of “establishments” that sell “imported and domestic beers” and other products used in “a distinctive pub environment.” Plaintiff also claims to have “methods and procedures—a system—” that... Continue Reading →

Private Mediators: A Solution to Budget Pressures on Circuit Court Mediation Programs

By: Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have, for many years, administered their own mediation programs for civil cases.  The administrators and mediators in such programs are, typically, Federal employees. Such mediation programs are also characterized, typically, by the following: --mandatory referral of cases to mediation with no-extra-charge for mediator services --mediation... Continue Reading →

How Mandatory Mediation Succeeds: Seven Illustrations

By: Donald L. Swanson “Mandatory mediation” is a self-explanatory term.  It means this: –Disputing parties are required by court order or rule of law to participate in a mediation session. Mandatory mediation is a common tool for resolving disputes.  However, a reticence still exists, in much of the bankruptcy world, toward mandatory mediation.  The sources... Continue Reading →

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