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NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages
This is the transcript of a television program that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of mediating rather than litigating disputes, with segments devoted to a divorce mediation program in New Jersey and a neighborhood justice center in San Francisco.
The segment on divorce mediation contains the transcript of excerpts from the videotape of a divorce mediation session. The reporter-narrator of the segment comments on the purpose of divorce mediation compared to adversarial divorce litigation, and the divorcing couple comments on the value of mediation. David Wildstein, the chairman of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association, points out the disadvantage of mediation for the less dominant party who is unskilled in negotiation and less knowledgeable about the matters being mediated. Another segment describes San Francisco's Community Board Program, a free mediation service designed to address community conflicts. The president of Community Boards explains that their 8-year effort has been to train community residents to help other residents conciliate disputes in their own neighborhoods. The reporter-narrator explains that volunteers evaluate disputes and act as the third-party panel in hearing cases. The mediation of a landlord-tenant dispute is briefly described. The concluding section of the transcript contains conversations between the program moderator and Sanford Jaffe, Director of the Dispute Resolution Assistance Project at New York University, along with Harvey Halberstadter, a retired civil court judge. Both of the guests support mediation as a means of dealing with complex disputes so as to reach agreements satisfying to both parties. The disadvantage of litigation is seen to be its contentious and alienating adversarial format that makes one disputant the victor while vanquishing the other party. The setting of qualifications and training standards for mediators is favored by the guest panelists.