Via the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP)
HNMCP Clinical Instructor Heather Scheiwe Kulp has been published in the most recent issue of the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal with her cleverly titled article, “A Tightrope Over Both Your Houses: Ensuring Party Participation and Preserving Mediation’s Core Values in Foreclosure Mediation.”
Kulp outlines why mediation is an attractive and powerful option for large scale crises, such as the foreclosure crisis that has gripped the U.S. since 2007. Mediation supports resolving disputes in mutually satisfactory ways, helps to balance power dynamics, allows for emotions to be addressed, and promotes equitable, open, and direct communication. In addition, mediation encourages parties to make their own agreements rather than accept the outcome (foreclosure) should no alternative agreement be made. Self-determination ensures greater compliance and satisfaction with the dispute resolution process, even if the outcome is foreclosure.
“Trust, clear communication, and the ability to brainstorm many options are at the heart of a dispute resolution process,” explains Kulp. However, for all the strengths of mediation, a strong and well-designed system is necessary to balance competing goals. “In this article, I wanted to explore some of the tensions among the goals of foreclosure mediation programs, primarily, the tension between holding parties accountable for unhelpful behavior and promoting creative option generation through a confidential process. Importantly, I wanted to offer some dispute systems design suggestions for how entities starting foreclosure mediation programs might build program components that balance these tensions.”
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