Mediation as a service provided to two parties in a conflict does not really get off the ground, even though it proves to be a very good way of resolving conflicts. That’s caused by fundamental impediments to growth of demand. Some fundamental obstacles to growth exist on the demand side. Instead of support by the legislature or new marketing efforts, it is better to look for new ways to apply mediation. Mediation 2.0 is probably no longer a separate service, but one integrated into other forms of justice and dispute resolution.
Mediation exits for around twenty years, and in the U.S. for at least forty years. The supply side of the market is ready for it, but the demand side lags behind. In 2011 52 thousand mediations were conducted by 4.600 mediators. That is only 11 mediations per mediator on average.
From surveys of mediators can be seen that the number of mediations between 2009 and 2011 was still increasing. The market share of mediation, however, is and remains small. Mediation was conducted in only 2.7% of the cases where a form of agreement was achieved in 2004-2008. In the period 1998-2002 this was still 3.9%. Viewed internationally this is a pattern. The model in which two parties together voluntarily approach a mediator has so far never really broken through.
That is frustrating, because there can be little doubt that mediation works well and has great social benefits. Customer satisfaction and perceived procedural justice are high, the solution rate is around 60%, costs are limited and agreement through mediation leads to high compliance rates. Therefore, governments try to encourage the use of mediation: in the Netherlands, for example, through the Innovation Agenda of the Minister of Security and Justice.
This discussion paper first shows why mediation as a neutral service to two conflict parties lags behind expectations. Then we discuss the many possible ways in which mediation can be combined with other services already and show where further innovation is possible and desirable. We understand mediation in a broad sense, but focus on forms of mediation that intervene in the relationship between two or more parties in a conflict. Team building, individual conflict coaching and relationship therapy are outside that framework. The analysis also focuses on private demand.
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