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3.the parties have been able to agree on some issues;

4.their mutual hostility and anger is moderate or low;

5.they have an ongoing relationship;

6.their desire for settlement of the dispute is high;

7.the parties accept the intervention and assistance of the mediator;

8.there is external pressure to settle (time, unpredictable outcome, diminishing benefits);

9.there are adequate resources to effect a compromise; and

10.parties have some leverage on each other (ability to reward or harm).

Recent review of research

7.21 Irving and Benjamin, despite recently reviewing 51 research studies,827 were cautious about comparing studies as practice varied considerably, even within North America.  They suggested differences across five dimensions:

Court based public mediation versus private mediation;

the characteristics of client groups;

the models of mediation practice;

the local statutory regime; and

the identity and training of mediators.

7.22  The research they studied was divided into process studies,828 outcome studies,829 and studies that have tried to isolate predictors of successful mediation, that is, what type of client is likely to reach agreement.

Mediation agreement rates

7.23 In an excellent summary of studies of outcomes, Benjamin and Irving concluded that the rate of complete agreement reached through mediation was 40-60% and partial agreement 10-20%.  The overall agreement rate was 50%-80% with most studies closer to the higher figure.  The rates were quite consistent, whether court based,  private, voluntary, or mandatory, or whether it involved couples with a history of marital violence or intense marital conflict.  Also, mediation clients in the United States and England were more likely to reach voluntary agreement than those involved in litigation, and to do so in fewer sessions and less time.  Mediated

827 “Research in Family Mediation: Review and Implications”, Mediation Quarterly, vol.13, Fall (1995), No.1, 53.  This article is an abridged and revised version of Chapter 10 in Irving and Benjamin, Family Mediation-Contemporary Issues, (1995).  

828 This studies what mediators actually do in providing the service.  They rely on transcripts of sessions.

829 This includes, agreement rates, client satisfaction, gender differences, co-parental relations, cost and follow-up studies.

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