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While promoting the mediation, the issue is that we have to choose the right method for solving the problem
Ms. Machteld Pel
former Vice President of
the Arnhem Court of Appeal;
founder of Pel Mediation,
Training Consultancy Services

I am very proud to be here. While promoting the mediation, the issue is that we have to choose the right method for solving the problem. So I would talk how to choose the way to settle the dispute which will be really helpful.

We have done a lot of researches with the aim to examine if the mediation works, and we have published the results in our specialized literature available in English. The first thing that we have learned is that without referees — no mediation. When people are in conflict, they cannot agree on anything together, and it is rather difficult to engage the other party into mediation. So it is really hard to start the mediation process because you cannot start it unilaterally — you have to do it together. And in this situation referees are crucially important.

Then who are the referees? Judges, lawyers and so on have their own professional pride. You have to teach them conflict management, theory about conflict, and then the art of mediation. In my opinion, it is not necessary for judges or lawyers themselves, but they have to know what the difference between, for instance, arbitration, mediation and negotiations is. This allows choosing the method of dispute resolution which will help.

If I consider the case to be suitable for mediation and think that people should do efforts to resolve their conflicts, it does not mean that people will really do it. But if they are taking responsibility for resolving their conflict, it is crucially important to investigate the issue together with people. Because if people go to mediator just for the reason that a judge told them to do it — it will never be a very successful mediation.

I have been a judge for a long time, but during the last three years I have been doing mediation in commercial, public and private cases. In my perspective, the first task of each mediator is a careful investigation of a problem. What we all need in Russia and in the Netherlands is to help people to be responsible for their own conflicts and to choose the right method.