Using Dispute System Design Methods to Promote Good-Faith Participation in Court-Connected Mediation Programs


This Article discusses what can be done to promote productive behavior in mediation and reduce bad conduct. Although most participants do not abuse the mediation process, some people use mediation to drag out litigation, gain leverage for later negotiations, and generally wear down the opposition. Rules requiring good-faith participation are likely to be ineffective and possibly counterproductive. This Article proposes using dispute system design principles to develop policies satisfying the interests of stakeholders in court-connected mediation programs. After outlining important interests of key stakeholder groups, including litigants, attorneys, courts, and mediators, the Article describes specific policies that could satisfy their interests. These policies include collaborative education about good mediation practice, pre-mediation consultations and submission of documents, a limited and specific attendance requirement, and protections against misrepresentation. If faithfully implemented, these policies will enhance the integrity of mediation programs and satisfy the interests of the stakeholder groups without the problems caused by good-faith requirements.

About the Author

Associate Professor and Director, LL.M. Program in Dispute Resolution, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. J.D., Hastings College of Law; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison.

By uclalaw