Accredited mediator and barrister Anthony Lo Surdo SC created silkmediator.com.au as an avenue to educate clients about alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Mr Lo Surdo, of 12 Wentworth Selborne Chambers, told Lawyers Weekly the educational ADR resources available on his website can help both lawyers and clients considering mediation to better understand the process.
“What I have tried to do is give participants in the [ADR] process some understanding of what it is they can expect,” Mr Lo Surdo said.
“I think it’s important that parties understand the different styles of mediation and how they can be deployed in the resolution of any particular dispute; and then what to expect from a particular mediator.”
The website and ADR portal, which includes an ‘in the media’ drop-down tab dedicated to ADR developments, encourages an understanding of the four different mediation styles that can vary depending on an individual mediator.
According to Mr Lo Surdo, many parties involved in commercial mediations find themselves questioning what facilitative mediation can achieve that direct negotiation cannot.
“Common criticisms of mediation are a reflection of the style of the mediator and the fact that most mediators are trained in a facilitative style,” Mr Lo Surdo said.
“Most mediation training facilities teach the facilitative style of mediation because that accords with what a mediator does."
A good mediator, he said, will sensibly assist the parties to fine-tune expectations to a common platform.
“Evaluative mediators would use their practical experience to bring to bear whatever dispute resolution skills are needed to highlight these areas," he continued.
“[Commercial mediation] often calls for a mediator who can engage in more of an evaluative style of mediation – where a mediator can say privately […] that they can see your case presents these strengths, weaknesses, risks, etc.”