Mediation is a type of dispute resolution, where there is always a third party involved. The third party acts as the medium between the two conflicting parties. With both high financial and emotional costs that are involved with trial, mediation has over the years become a very attractive method of solving disputes. In the state of California, courts at times assign cases for mediation despite the desire of the conflicting parties to attend. The court requires the parties to attend with an authority of settlement, they have to submit a memorandum of pre-mediation and even bring witnesses if they have too (Relis 2009). Lastly, they have to participate in good faith. Since mediation is confidential in nature, it is not clear of how a party that does not want to participate out of good faith to be reproofed. Even though, confidentiality is very vital to the success of the mediation, the participation is very important too. I do agree with the California state courts that good faith is basic for both parties in conflict, even if confidentiality is important too, but good faith has to precede that, for there to be resolution in the conflict (Relis, 2009).
In the state of California, mediator qualification, there are no requirements whatsoever for the mediation practice apart from child custody mediation through courts. For one to be qualified as a child mediator in the state of California, they should have a degree in social work, counseling or fields related to that. Apart from that, there is no formal licensing or certification that is required for the practice of mediation in the state. However, there are mediation statutes contained in California Evidence Code that govern the mediators and the attorneys who practice mediation. These statutes are the same ones that covers all mediators especially the ones who have attained different specialties (Folberg, 2004).
The state of California describes explicit requirements for the practice of mediation. First, one is required to have been a law practitioner for the past seven years and also must be a member of the Courts bar. In an instance where the mediator is not a law practitioner, then they should have a suitable credible qualification in a filed like accounting. The mediator is also required to have knowledge about civil indictment in the federal court. The individual is also supposed to have good listening skills and should be able to communicate and aid in the process of mediation fairly. In the case of court mediators, it is a must that one must be qualified fully in compliance to their set of standards. As for the private mediators, not most of them are qualified, but they have the ability to settle a dispute regardless of not being qualified. Even though, both these parties are supposed to be aware of the statutes that govern their practice (Kovach 2014).
For one to call oneself a mediator in the state of California there is no requirement for degreed trainings and certificates. Despite that fact, it is recommended by the most experienced and responsible mediators that specified mediation training are helpful. Most of the mediators have a credible professional such as counseling even law. While on the other hand, some are even in education, government or even religion. Despite the fact that these qualifications are not necessary, it adds credibility among the other mediators in the market. The law does not require a particular professional background for the mediators as they could even be social workers and even therapists (Kovach 2014). Al though, basic training is basic as a good mediator is required to have a blend of uniqueness in their analytical and communication skills. A good example is that even though lawyers might do some negotiation, they normally tend to tackle with the conflict in a manner that is more ritualized. It is important t that lawyers learn how they can handle fresh squabble when the parties are fighting before them. While on the other hand therapists may have a greater experience in directly dealing with strong feelings and conflict as they arise but still, they need more skills in negotiations, analyzing the conflict and even staying focused on their task (Relis, 2009).
Prospective mediators are required to apprentice a mentor. With the help of a mentor, it is easier for the prospective mediator to learn and adopt easily. This gives one room for advanced field learning. The prospective mediator can have a mentor for as long as they both want. Once the mediator is comfortable to work by oneself without assessments, then they can let go of their mentors, although, they can still be apprenticed to them for future reference. Qualified mediators are required to fulfill mediation-specific continuing education requirements. The qualified mediators are supposed to report to sixteen hours of (CME) continuing Mediator education every two years which is applicable to family, county, circuit, and dependency and appellate. By continuing education, they become better in their skills as they learn new strategies and improve in their weaknesses (Folberg, 2004).
Folberg, J. (2004). Divorce and family mediation: Models, techniques, and applications. New
York: Guilford Press.
Kovach, K. (2014). Mediation in a Nutshell. West Academic.
Relis, T. (2009). Perceptions in litigation and mediation: Lawyers, defendants, plaintiffs, and
gendered parties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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