History of Mediation

Conflict resolution strives to provide fundamental human wants because it argues that unmet basic human needs are at the basis of violent conflicts. This creates room for "facilitative" and nonviolent alternatives. Conflict is fundamentally a subjective phenomenon, and thus its resolution must include the analysis and reconstruction of perceptions of beliefs (about) and attitudes towards the opposing party, as well as improving communication and facilitating the development of trust and cooperation between hostile groups and individuals.

Historical Background of Mediation

The oldest occurrences, according to historians, date to the Phoenician trade. Some examples involving mediation have been discovered in both Roman society and ancient Greece, where the "non-marital" mediator was known as pyroxenites. Romans used various terms to refer to mediators, including internuncios, medium, intercessor, interpolator, conciliator, interlocutor, and eventually mediator. The function of the mediator occasionally overlapped with that of the conventional "Wiseman" or "chieftain" in various cultures, where they were regarded as "holy" figures deserving of special reverence.

The formal practice of mediation dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. During this time, there was a growing understanding of the shortcomings of the conventional litigation process and a desire for a faster, less combative method of resolving conflicts. The use of mediation to settle disagreements in various situations, such as family law, employment, and business issues, grew in popularity during the following decades; with the emergence of professional organizations, educational programs, and accreditation systems, mediation as a profession developed during the 1980s and 1990s. Mediation usage has recently increased as more people, groups, and governments worldwide appreciate the method. Additionally, mediation has grown to include new areas like cross-border disputes, healthcare problems, and environmental disputes.

Current Trends in Mediation

At present, mediation is quite effective for all types of civil disputes. On international arena, the concept is becoming popular, as it offers win-win situation, which means, both the parties (in dispute) can satisfy their needs and demands adequately.

However, the current trends involve −

The changing profile of cross-border disputants

The nature of international dispute resolution and the expansion of mediation in this field is changing along with the characteristics of cross-border disputants. International disputes have significantly increased due to the increased accessibility of the Internet and the corresponding rise in micro and small business firms engaged in international trade. Think about pandora's box of international disputes from business-to-business and business-to-consumer (B2C) internet transactions. Increasingly, consumers make online purchases from the comfort of their homes, needing to be more knowledgeable about the origin of the items, the time and location of the purchase contract, and the location of the shipment of the goods. When an issue arises, small business owners or customers seek justice and might unintentionally find themselves involved in an international conflict.

Opening up of international mediation practice

The institutional capacity to meet the needs of disputants and experienced mediators operating in this shifting dispute resolution environment is developing as international mediation continues to gain popularity, particularly in the economic realm. Cross-border mediation services started to become institutionalized in the middle to late 1990s. International commercial arbitration institutions, like the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") in Paris, the London Court of International Arbitration, and later the Asian International Arbitration Centre - started to provide international mediation. In contrast, national organizations, like the Resolution Institute in Sydney, the Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") Centre in Rome, and the Center for Effective Dispute Resolution in London, started expanding existing mediation services.

International legal framework for mediation

Calls for a more solid legal framework to assist the mediation of cross-border disputes have followed the slow and steady institutionalization and growth of international mediation practice. International laws governing commercial mediation have been introduced previously.

Professionalization of mediators

In most nations, institutional programs to accredit mediators marked the beginning of the professionalization of the mediation field in the 1980s or 1990s. Local courts, professional groups like law associations, and dispute resolution organizations frequently offer these programs. National mediator credentialing programs have significantly increased since 2000; they may be based on legislation (as in Austria), the business community (as in Australia and Hong Kong), or a hybrid of the two (for example, in Germany and Singapore). The legal registration of professional mediators in a given jurisdiction is typically governed by national mediator credentialing schemes, which establish consistent criteria, assessment procedures, and ongoing training requirements.


Mediation, as a strategy and approach to peaceful conflict resolution, is distinguished by the inclusion of a third party in the discussions in addition to the directly involved parties. Mediation is used to further discussions when parties to a problem refuse to communicate to each other or when negotiations fail to lead to a common ground. The mediator serves as a neutral third party to facilitate resolution without assessing the merits of either side's argument. A mediator of this type is a person or group of people who are neutral and trusted by all parties to the issue. The mediating party takes control of the negotiation thread and serves as a conduit for communication between the opposing parties.

Updated on: 13-Mar-2023


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