Mediation outside the USA in Europe – the differences

Outside the USA
Mediation outside the USA

Mediation Outside the USA in Europe

My Mediation Society Colleagues, Bruce Edwards, Patrice Prince and Dana Curtis shared their observations on Mediation in Europe at a recent breakfast meeting. They attended the International Summer School on Business Mediation in Admont, Austria this last summer.  Here are some of their observations European Mediation from my notes:

  • Mediation is a social process not a legal one.  In the USA, mediation is associated with the courts.  In Europe they do not mediate in the shadow of the law.
  • They work at “dispute design”.  In other words they are looking at the organization to see how they might eliminate the points of potential conflict.  They do not concentrate on the individual dispute between individuals.  Over 80% of the firms in Europe are family owned.  Therefore any dispute has family issues involved.
  • They view mediation as a social and psychological process and not primarily a legal process.
  • And finally, there are few retired judges doing mediation.

The International Summer School on Business Mediation (ISBM)

The International Summer School on Business Mediation (ISBM) is an international event presented by and for business mediators. Since 2012 it is also for consultants, executives and managers. Every two years, participants from all over Europe and the United States come together for a week to work and live jointly.
Each annual conference program is organized around a central theme, with a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches developed in different professions and disciplines. Discourse at both practical and conceptual levels enables each participant to integrate new methods into his or her current mediation approach and to develop further his or her own stance as a mediator.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

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