Information and Tools

Lack of understanding is one of the main impediments to the growth of mediation and the breadth of its uptake. The average user is often confused by numerous different definitions of mediation, mostly technical and written by lawyers who often describe mediation as a legal or quasi-legal process, and by a serious lack of information about how and why mediation works. Without a proper and objective understanding, there is little prospect of universal acceptance of mediation.

Because mediation services are highly fragmented, with numerous mainly small providers competing for relatively little business, there are few resources for promoting the field. Such funds as service providers do have to spend on promotion are usually spent on income-generating initiatives, such as training, and there is generally a strict enforcement of copyright by providers on training and promotional materials, so that information is not easily sharable.

IMI set about breaking this paradigm by developing informational materials about mediation that are not copyright-protected, thereby encouraging wide and diverse dissemination. Since 2008, IMI has published numerous pieces of information about mediation, such as online videos (including a detailed study guide to one of the videos), 20 Questions that people ask about mediation, write – ups and articles on how mediation works, an online library, podcasts, survey data, blogs, webcasts, and newsletters. There is an article by IMI offering a classic definition of mediation, and a Young Mediators Initiatve designed to share information among those aspiring to be mediators and to help them generate experience as assistants to practicing mediators.

Tools

Mediation Tools are designed to provide help and assistance to users, mediators and mediation service providers – those who are experiencing conflicts or making deals and are considering mediation, and those who advise or service them. Most IMI tools have been developed as a result of GE Foundation funding and include:

Decision Tree

to provide objective and impartial guidance to users of mediation services on what to bear in mind, and what basic decisions need to be taken, when going to mediation. Presented as a visual with links to more information.

Olé

to provide help to parties and their advisers to analyze and assess specific disputes in order to determine the best possible way forward. Olé can be used online or in a printed version (the web enablement funding having been provided by the GE Foundation).

Model Contract Clauses

including guidance on drafting dispute resolution clauses and examples of many clauses offered by different provider organisations.