Community Association Conflicts

March 3, 2012    Workplace & Commercial Disputes - Multiparty Mediation

Mediation is often thought of in terms of the resolution of disputes between two private parties, maybe three. However, a mediator can help in a great many situations involving large numbers of parties, and great issues of public importance, particularly before legal action is taken. The mediation of multi-party, multi-issue disputes at the local level such as battles over the design and location of public facilities, the setting of policy priorities, and the specification of health and safety standards, can be particularly effective. Multi-stakeholder dialogues at the state, national, and even international levels can also be mediated to great advantage – producing fairer, more efficient, more stable, and wiser outcomes. Baltimore Mediation has expertise in such facilitations.

The requirements for successful mediation of multi-party, multi-issue disputes, particularly in the public-policy arena, are somewhat different from the usual prerequisites for successful mediation of two-party disputes.

In public dispute resolution, the agenda of issues is not limited to what can be litigated or what the court would find relevant. Any and all issues can be linked in the world of politics and public affairs. In public dispute resolution, the product of a multi-party dialogue, even one that extends over several years is almost always an informal, non-binding agreement.

The mediator in a public policy dispute resolution effort is often expected to convince the parties to come to the table, to help them structure a “work program” and ground rules to guide their interactions, and to broker agreement when it becomes too difficult to bring large numbers of parties together in a public forum.

Similarly, the mediator is usually the one who drafts the agreement, presents it to the public, monitors its implementation, and helps the parties reconvene if someone suspects someone else of non-compliance. Call upon Baltimore Mediation’s team to assist you in such matters.