Role of Mediator: Control Over the Process
Mediation is a voluntary, party- centered and structural negotiation in which a third person assist the parties to mutually decide the terms of settlement which are acceptable by both the parties. Mediation is a dynamic process in which the mediator assists the parties to negotiate a settlement for resolving their disputes. The right of self- determination retained by the parties is an essential element of the process. The main objective of mediation is to find a mutually acceptable solution that adequately and legitimately satisfies the needs, desires and interest of the parties. Mediation encourages the active and direct participation of the parties.
However, the mediator has diverse role in the communication process. The mediator explains about the process and ground rules of the mediation to the parties. The role of mediator is many- fold, specified in Rule- 16 of Mediation and Conciliation Rules, 2004. Some of these are:
- Attempt to facilitate voluntary resolution of disputes by the parties.
- Communicate the view of each party to the other.
- Assist them in identifying issues.
- Reducing misunderstanding.
- Explore areas of compromise.
- Generate options to solve the disputes.
- Clarify priorities.
Nonetheless, after many attempts by the mediator, due to the direct participation and communication of the parties, there may be chances that the communication may get heated up. The parties may start blaming each other in a way that will lead to impossible settlement. This gives a new role to the mediator to take the control over the process. The mediator should encourage and promote communication, and effectively manage the interruptions and outbursts by parties. The mediator should be in control of the proceedings and must ensure that parties do not “takeover” the session by aggressive behaviour, interruptions or any other similar conduct.
One of the ground rules of mediation is that the language used may always be polite and respectful and mutual respect and respect for the process may be maintained. In spite, their may arise many occasions when the aggrieved parties may lose control and convert the communication into the heated arguments. In this situation the object of the mediation process may vanish and parties may lose hope in settling the dispute. Then it is the duty of the mediator to control the process by taking control over the process, subside the heated arguments among the parties. Mediator should endeavour to enable the parties to understand each other and enable them to listen to each other. The mediator should shift the parties to a solution- finding mood and encourage parties the generate options and find terms that are mutually acceptable. There are many stages in the mediation process when parties vent personal feelings of pain, hurt and anger, the mediator must identify sensitive matter and acknowledge them.
Hence, mediator cannot adjudicate upon the dispute but this does not mean that the mediator does not any role in the mediation. The role of mediator in controlling over the process is of utmost significance in gathering the terms of settlement. If parties will be allowed to take over the process, then there are no chances of settlement.