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Presented in collaboration with the Board of the National Mediation Conference 2016, this Special Issue of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal (Volume 28 Part 1) brings together a selection of papers from the National Mediation Conference 2016 on the theme of “Thought, Innovation and Creativity: The Next Decade”.

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EDITORIAL: NATIONAL MEDIATION CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Articles

Solution-focused Family Dispute Resolution Fredrike P Bannink

Building solutions is different from solving problems or conflicts. The focus of solution-focused (SF) mediators is on the participants’ preferred future instead of their undesired past or present and to help them become better instead of bitter. The concept and methodology of SF mediation differ significantly from other types of mediation. Mediation becomes more positive and shorter, ensuring that it is cost-effective and that there is less burnout amongst mediators. This article includes an introduction of the benefits of applying a future focus, followed by a description of the basics of SF mediation and includes a successful example of SF mediation at work in a family dispute case.

The Essential Nature of a Collaborative Practice Group for Successful Collaborative Lawyers Pauline Collins and Marilyn Scott

The important need for a strong collaborative practice group in order for collaborative practitioners to operate successfully is often not fully acknowledged. A research project undertaken to examine the delivery of Collaborative Practice (CP) services identified the various roles for collaborative practice groups and the support they offer practitioners. The research found that the role of the practice group was an essential aspect for maintaining and developing the professional learning community that is integral to a thriving community of collaborative practitioners.

Whose Role is it to Support the Child’s Right to Culture in Australia? Bethaina Dababneh

Using original research, this article will focus on Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Practitioners (FDRP) and and their understanding of culture, children’s rights to culture and whether FDRPs were prepared to facilitate discussion on culture with parents post-separation in FDR. The main argument in this article is that children are born into a culture. The loss of culture is therefore understood to have potentially detrimental effects on the child’s adjustments and healthy development.

Beyond Resolution – Conceptualising the Shift from Resolution to Defusion in FDR Andi Doerr

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) as a process in Family Law Services (FLS) has reached a maturity that allows for reflection and considerations of future directions. The term resolution implies that being unable to resolve the conflict is a failure – of all parties involved. It is suggested that a shift from resolution to defusion is a more realistic and ultimately hopeful stance in working with separated families in high conflict.

Working with Trans or Gender Diverse, Intersex and/or Non-heterosexual Clients: Advice for Mediators Samantha Hardy, Olivia Rundle and Damien W Riggs

Trans or gender diverse, intersex and/or non-heterosexual people are potential clients of mediation services, and mediators need to be equipped to work effectively with these clients. Claims of “equal” treatment of all clients are insufficient, as effectively that means treating all clients as though they are heterosexual and a gender that aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth. This article overviews some of the considerations specific to the mediation context.

Co-creating Mediation Models: Adapting Mediation Practices when Working across Cultures Judith Herrmann and Claire Holland

To become accredited under the National Mediation Accreditation System Standards (NMAS Standards), mediators receive training in the facilitative model. Whilst the NMAS Standards provide a useful framework for mediation training and process design, mediators who work in culturally diverse settings need to be flexible, especially when engaging with communities in conflict and post-conflict settings. This article explains how the authors adapted particular mediation features to the contexts where they worked.

Before Mediation: Designing Processes for the Next Decade – Matching Process with the Purpose Jill Howieson and Lisanne Iriks

There is much pressure on the mediation process to deliver long-term results in short amounts of time. Nevertheless, it appears that parties, clients and lawyers come to mediation unprepared to participate in a meaningful way. Recent research suggests that the time and space before mediation is valuable for the parties to mentally and practically prepare. This article argues that it is time for the mediation field to step up its research, practice and training in the area of pre-mediation and find its balance between information and preparation.

Voluntas: Volunteer Conflict Management for the Volunteering Sector Stephen Lancken and Jay Qin

Voluntas is a free conflict resolution service which provides volunteer mediators for volunteer organisations. Voluntas’ pilot program, which began in early 2016, provides skilled facilitators and mediators to assist in managing conflict as early as possible. The mediators also facilitated constructive conversations between volunteers and their organisations. The authors reflect on the project, from its industry context to the facilitative processes and what can be learned about conflict in the volunteer sector.

Cutting Edge…Cutting the Cost: The Business Case for Conflict Coaching in a Government Workplace Noelene Salmon

The damaging effects of conflict in the Australian workplace have long been recognised and acknowledged both in terms of overt and hidden costs. However actual dollars have been difficult to assess. A successful business case for a new model of conflict management and resolution presents compelling financial evidence of the need for change. Based on formal processes being the last, not the first step, the model drives change looking through a Conflict Management Coaching (CINERGY Conflict Management Coaching) prism.

For the PDF version of the table of contents, click here: ADRJ Vol 28 No 1 Contents.

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