The Dispute Resolution Series
Part of the mandate of the Dispute Resolution Office is to help the public sector develop mediation and other dispute resolution options. Many public sector organizations (including government ministries and branches; agencies, boards and commissions; and administrative tribunals and other statutory decision-makers) experience problems similar to those found in the court system, where decision-making processes can be adversarial, complex, time-consuming and expensive. These organizations are interested in exploring collaborative dispute resolution options as a means of providing more accessible, cost-effective and timely services to the public. Interest in dispute resolution ranges from the general to the specific—from a desire to learn about mediation to the need to design a new dispute resolution option or modify an existing decision-making process.
The Dispute Resolution Office, in partnership with the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C., has developed a structured approach to designing dispute resolution options. Based on problem-solving, interest-based (as opposed to rights-based) negotiation theories and processes, this approach is set out in the Dispute Resolution Series. The four-volume series is intended to support dispute resolution education and training in the fields of law and public policy. Materials included range from basic information about mediation and negotiation theory and practice to the design and implementation of a dispute resolution system. Training modules, case studies and recommendations for further reading are also included. Each volume can be used as a stand-alone informational guide or as the basis for a training program. The principles and practices described can be applied to the public sector, the justice system and the private sector.
The series was edited by Craig Darling, a mediator and lawyer who works in the fields of public policy dispute resolution, public interest negotiation training, and public dispute resolution system design. Contributing writers include experienced mediators, members of the bar, dispute resolution instructors, and individuals working in dispute resolution systems design and policy development.
Volume 1—Reaching Agreement: Negotiating in the Public Interest
Volume 1 describes the basic theory, skills and process of problem-solving negotiation. It covers the nature of conflict, basic negotiation principles, practical frameworks for negotiation, how to deal with impasse, communication skills, and the more complex skills of balancing power and understanding the impact of cultural differences in conflict. Volumes 2, 3 and 4 in the series assume readers are familiar with the fundamental concepts introduced in Volume 1.
Volume 2—Turning Conflict into Consensus: Mediation Theory, Process and Skills
Volume 2 explores the nature and practice of mediation. Topics include understanding conflict, the nature of mediation, the mediation process, the role of legal counsel in mediation, mediation skills, and managing emotion, power and cultural differences. The volume provides examples of mediation agreements and letters of consensus, as well as a glossary, bibliography and list of mediation resources. The Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. uses these materials for teaching the fundamentals of mediation, advanced civil mediation and family law mediation. They will be of interest to both experienced mediators and mediators in training.
Volume 3—Working Together: Designing Shared Decision-Making Processes
Volume 3 covers the essentials of bringing together stakeholders for a shared decision-making process: how to identify stakeholders; alternatives for involving them in public decisions; and how to design, convene and manage multi-party discussions and negotiations.
Volume 4—Thinking Strategically: Developing Systems to Resolve Conflict
Volume 4 examines the emerging field of dispute resolution system design, and provides information on how to integrate dispute resolution mechanisms into existing adjudicative systems. It discusses the nature and purpose of public dispute resolution systems, as well as the important role public policy that supports the use of dispute resolution options can play in preventing and resolving public policy disputes. The volume also outlines an organizational framework for dispute resolution system design with advice on how to apply it in different organizational settings.
How to order the Dispute Resolution Series
For information about ordering individual volumes or the entire series:
In the public sector contact the Dispute Resolution Office.
In the private sector, contact the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C.