What is it?
Online mediation is a specific type of mediation that uses computers, email, and internet technology to conduct the mediation sessions.
Why use it?
Recent research in the alternate dispute resolution field has stated that there will always be certain cases for which online mediation is appropriate. Also it is that the mediation process itself is more important than the type of communication form used.
Online mediation is also considered to be effective, efficient and affordable for certain types of mediation cases such as the following:
- if the parties are geographically distant from each other,
- if the timing of the resolution is important as it is often it is usually easier to schedule or participate in online sessions versus face to face meetings,
- if there are many jurisdictions with complex issues, then it provides a framework to identify the interests of the parties and record them as the mediation progresses,
- if there are any power imbalances between the parties, then online mediation provides a safe forum, and
- often the parties are less reactionary as they can take more time to reflect on the situation.
Many international organizations such as the United Nations and the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development already recommend the use of online dispute resolution. In addition, the BC Attorney General’s Office recently explored how online dispute resolution processes may be used in certain parts of the justice system including the existing Court mandated mediations.
Who uses online mediation?
All levels of government can benefit from the use of online mediation. Governments are responsible for complex public policy issues that are ripe for mediation. Regional and local governments may want to use of online mediation for the following:
- public participation processes,
- policy and planning issues,
- collaborative planning with other agencies and First Nations,
- government and First Nations referrals and
- enforcement matters.
Online mediation may be useful for some First Nations issues related to land use planning, community services, agency referrals, and communications with members who are not living at home. Online mediation may also be useful to resolve civil issues between individuals, families, businesses or organizations provided that all parties are comfortable with the online environment.
In summary, online mediation provides the opportunity for people to resolve their differences and create effective solutions in an fast and affordable process. Why not contact Gillian at firstname.lastname@example.org and choose a new approach to move towards solutions?