The CoRe Group's Mediation Service:

What is Problem solving Mediation versus Transformative Mediation?

For two decades, The CoRe Group has provided two different approaches to mediating disputes.  First is problem-solving mediation, a framework that majority of existing mediators around the globe follow.  This form of mediation is geared towards pinpointing the main problem, often resulting from incompatible needs or interests, then working with parties to find the solution for all those involved. The focus of the mediator is in getting parties from point A (which involves recognizing the problem) to point B (coming up with a mutually-satisfactory agreement). This approach is commonly seen in mediation services of government / administrative agencies, court-annexed mediation and private commercial mediation that deal with the following:

 Assets: such as land claims, landlord-lessee, intellectual property, other money claims

 Workplace issues: such as office policies, CBA, labor-management disputes, harassment and other grievances

Business transactionsincluding dissolution of partnership, distributorship issues, franchise concerns, loans / credit deficiencies, medical mal-practice, customer relationship problem.

The next approach that The CoRe Group has espoused through the years is transformative mediation.  Our mediators recognize that conflict bears a deeper, more personal influence on individuals involved. Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph Folger writers of The Promise of Mediation highlights that "mediation's greatest value lies in its potential not only to find solutions to people's problems but to change people themselves for the better, in the very midst of conflict." In line with this principle, the CoRe Group developed the Values-based Mediation program where mediators bring people together through an exploration of the most fundamental values that are treasured by each person. The mediator becomes very active in helping parties understand oneself and the role he/she plays into the conflict situation. It is through the recognition of one’s responsibility in the situation, as well as understanding of the other’s point of view that the mediation process can begin to move forward. Parties are empowered to drive the process to the direction they find to be mutually beneficial. This process is proven to be successful in creating durable, long-term resolution of intractable conflicts involving:

 Family:    parent-child conflict, sibling disputes (particularly inheritance issues), specific aspects of legal separation allowed by law, family business conflict

 Community:   disputes among homeowners associations,

 Company - Stakeholder issues:   issues that occur between extractive industries, their host communities, local government and national government agencies;

 Large public disputes:   companies or government agencies dealing with public interest groups

 Conditions requiring dialogue:   principles of Transformative Mediation is also used on companies that aim to have CSR programs that create greater, long-term impact on beneficiary communities; companies needing to enhance relationship with host communities

The CoRe Group has been successful in both problem-solving and transformative mediation.  However, we have invested in training our mediators with the transformative approach to fully equip them for the toughest conflict situations.

The CoRe Group's Mediation Service Guidelines:

Rules of Procedure

1.0          General Rules of Procedures

1.1         The mediation process is voluntary.  Parties should choose to take part in the process according to their own free will. 

1.2         By volunteering, parties are coming into the process with the intention of settling their differences with the other party using a collaborative method.

1.3         Parties may choose to end the process at any time and may still pursue their case through arbitration and litigation.

1.4         The parties in conflict and the mediator will attend the mediation session.  If desired, the parties’ representatives or advisers (legal representatives) may be present.

1.5         Should representatives appear for principal parties, a notarized Special Power of Attorney and Board Resolution stating that representative/s have the full authority to enter into mediation and signed agreements must be submitted.

1.6         The mediation process is strictly confidential, and no part of the discussion with the mediator, excluding child abuse and domestic violence, threats of violence, or intention to commit a crime, shall be disclosed without prior approval of the mediator or the pertinent parties.

2.0          Complaint Processing

2.1         The CoRe Group will, within ten (10) working days from receiving request for services, recommend a mediator to the parties from its roster of mediators.  Consideration will be given to the nature of the dispute, the location, experience requirement and the complexity.  If the parties do not agree to the appointment of a mediator, the CoRe Group will appoint another mediator if requested to do so.

2.2         Within five (5) working days from receiving the request for mediation services, the mediator or The CoRe group will send parties a ‘Notice for Mediation’ informing them about the mediation process, the mediator assigned to their dispute, and the schedules.

3.0          Agreement to Mediate

3.1         Parties will sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ before beginning the mediation.  The agreement establishes the roles of the parties, the general rules that will be followed, and results after the mediation. 

3.2         By signing the agreement, the parties agree to be bound by the provisions of the procedures. 

4.0          The Role of the Mediator

4.1         The Mediator is an independent, impartial facilitator, assisting the parties in understanding each other’s needs and eventually determining a solution satisfying to both.  He/she does not take sides nor does he/she make any decision for the parties.

4.2         The mediator shall be present and shall facilitate all mediation sessions. 

4.3         The mediator will keep all information revealed in mediation confidential.  The mediator will not testify in any court proceedings to disclose any information revealed in mediation.

4.4         The mediator will not provide legal advice or impose a settlement on the parties. 

4.5         The mediator may stop the mediation at any point for any reason. 

5.0         Conduct of the Mediation Process

5.1         Each mediation process begins with an Opening Statement where the mediator

●        introduces him/herself and where parties introduce themselves;

●        explains the objectives of the mediation;

●        describes the role of the mediator as well as the parties;

●        explains the mediation process;

●        emphasizes confidentiality of the mediation;

●        seeks questions and clarifications; and

●        sets the ground rules that all parties need to abide by during the entire mediation process.

5.2         Parties enter mediation in good faith and shall therefore be expected to make their mediation proposals in earnest. 

5.3         The mediator will provide ‘uninterrupted time’ for each party to explain and describe the issue or complaint.  At any time during the process and whenever necessary, the mediator or parties may call for a private caucus. 

5.4         The mediation process is strictly confidential, and no part of the discussion with the mediator, excluding child abuse and domestic violence, threats of violence, or intention to commit a crime, shall be disclosed without prior approval of the mediator or the pertinent parties.

6.0          The Mediation Agreement & Enforcement Mechanism

6.1         The parties bind themselves legally to fulfil their commitments if an agreement is reached through the mediation process.  As such, they should have the full authority to commit resources to the agreement. 

6.2         Should there be a need to change the mediation agreement, the parties may return to mediation with consent from the other party. 

6.3         The mediator shall assist parties in drafting the mediation agreement which should contain specific details of what has been agreed on, including date, time and venue for the fulfilment of the agreement.

6.4         The parties will sign the ‘Mediation Agreement Form’ making the agreement legally binding.

6.5         Should parties wish to register the signed mediation agreement with the courts, The CoRe Group abides by existing rules of the Supreme Court and other governing bodies on the registration and enforcement of mediation agreements at that level. 

7.0          Closure or Wrap-Up

7.1         The mediator will prepare all necessary documentations.

7.2         The parties will evaluate the mediation process using the ‘Mediation Evaluation Form’. 

7.3         The mediator submits the Mediator Assignment and Tracking Form including a Mediator’s Report.

7.4         All other notes will be destroyed and all documents submitted by the parties will be returned to them.

8.0          Termination of Mediation

At any time during the process the mediation may be terminated when (a) a party voluntarily withdraws from the mediation, (b) a written settlement agreement is reached, or (c) if the mediator, at his/her sole discretion, decides that it is unlikely to result in a settlement, or that he/she should withdraw due to ethical reasons.

9.0          Mediation Costs

Usually, costs of the mediation are borne equally between the parties.  Payment of these costs will be made to The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation, in accordance with its fee schedule and the corresponding terms and conditions.  All other costs (e.g. travel, legal representative costs) are to be borne by the party incurring them, unless otherwise agreed with the other party. 

Code of Conduct & Ethical Standards:

1.       The Mediator will ensure that all parties are informed about the mediator’s  role, the procedures to be followed, and the rules of conduct.

During the opening statement, it is a must for the mediator/mediator-arbitrator to explain in detail the mediation process, the roles of the mediator/mediator-arbitrator and the parties, and the rules of conduct.  The parties should be able to understand that each of them will have an opportunity to talk and hear out each other, and to make the interests of both parties meet to come up with a win-win solution.  If the mediator/mediator-arbitrator finds that (1) the parties are not acting in good faith, (2) if the agreements are illegal or involve the commission of a crime, (3) continuing the process will result to an appearance of impropriety, (4) continuing the process would cause harm to a non-participating person or the public, or (5) continuing the discussions would not be in the best interest of the parties or the process, the mediator/mediator-arbitrator may cease the process.  It must be understood by the parties that if no agreement is reached, the mediator/mediator-arbitrator may refer the case to a different process.

The mediator should also explain to the parties that mediation-arbitration is also an option.  This process must be clearly explained and understood by the parties.

2.       The Mediator shall maintain impartiality.

A mediator must remain impartial throughout the mediation process.  A mediator should avoid any potential for bias based on the parties’ backgrounds, attributes, or conduct of the session.  Should the mediator have pre-existing knowledge of the dispute or opinion he/she should strongly consider whether it is appropriate for him/her to handle the dispute.

The mediator should, at all times, strive to provide a fair process in which each party is given adequate time and opportunity to participate and be heard. 

The mediator may not in any case accept items of value, including gifts or payments for meals and travel, from one party or counsel to a mediation during or after a mediation particularly if the items cast doubt on the integrity of the mediator and the process.

At any point in the process, if the mediator finds that he/she is incapable of maintaining impartiality, he/she should withdraw immediately.

3.       The Mediator shall maintain confidentiality.

During and after the process, the mediator/mediator-arbitrator must keep in confidence all confidential information disclosed and obtained during the mediation/med-arbitration process.  This must also be emphasized at the beginning of the mediation/mediation-arbitration.  At the end of the process, all notes must be destroyed. 

The mediator cannot disclose confidential information without the express permission of all parties or unless required by law or a legal authority. 

4.       The Mediator must be competent to manage the process.

The Mediator must meet the Qualification Standards before mediating a dispute.  He/she must have sufficient knowledge of the process and must take a personal responsibility to prepare for each mediation session.

5.       The Mediator must not hold back from making suggestions or giving advice.

The mediator is a neutral party who is meant to facilitate the parties in conflict come up with a solution to their dispute.  The mediator merely facilitates not decide or advice.  The Mediator must avoid giving suggestions or advice to show trust that the parties know better; to prevent parties from feeling incapable of making a decision; to prevent parties from not taking responsibility; to give parties more stake on the solution; to prevent parties from feeling uncomfortable; and to protect the mediator from taking blame.

6.       The Mediator must be in control of the process.

The Mediator must ensure that the parties feel safe during the entire process.  The mediator must ensure, at the beginning of the mediation, to establish the ground rules that will foster a process of mutual respect.  The Mediator/Mediator-Arbitrator must keep control of the process at all times.

 

Recourse Mechanisms

1.       Change of Neutral Before Mediation Begins

At the beginning, The CoRe Group will recommend a mediator depending on the complexity of the complaint, experience required and nature of the dispute.  However, the parties have the freedom to select their mediator should they prefer another neutral person to handle their dispute.  The parties may choose from The CoRe Group’s roster of mediators.  All (both) parties must agree to the chosen neutral person. 

1)      One or both parties must submit a ‘Request for Change of Neutral’ seven (7) days from receiving the ‘Notice for Mediation’ from the mediator or The CoRe Group. 

2)      Within seven (7) days from receiving the ‘Request for Change of Neutral’, The CoRe Group will provide the party(ies) with a list of recommended neutrals from which the party(ies) may choose from.

3)      If after fifteen (15) working days from receiving the list of neutrals, the parties fail to agree on the mediator, The CoRe Group will nominate a mediator/mediator-arbitrator that is most suitable to handle the dispute. 

2.       Change of Neutral in the Middle of Mediation

At any time during the mediation, one party or both may request a replacement of the mediator due to the following:

●        The neutral does not have the qualifications, training and experience to meet the expectations of the parties;

●        The neutral is violating ethical standards;

●        The neutral’s impartiality is in question;

●        The neutral is unable to provide effective services; or

●        There is conflict of interest.

In this case, The CoRe Group will assign a new mediator within ten (10) days from receiving the request.  Steps 1) to 3) described in Section B.1 above will apply.

3.       Complaints against the conduct of a Mediator

At any time during the mediation sessions, any party may file a complaint to the President of The CoRe Group through writing.  Complaints shall privately and immediately be handled by the President along with the Board of Trustees for appropriate action. 

Qualifications for Mediators

A.      Qualification Standards for Neutrals

To become a certified Mediator of The CoRe Group, a person must:

(1)              Complete a minimum of five (5) days or forty (40) hours of classroom training on Values-based transformative mediation;

(2)              Complete a minimum of forty (40) hours of practical training or handle a minimum of four (4) cases under the supervision and observation a certified mediator; and

(3)              Submission of nomination from a trained mediator and character references.