Jurisdictions throughout the country are increasingly establishing mandatory mediation programs. At first glance, “mandatory mediation” would seem to be an oxymoron to the mediation community where “self-determination” is a fundamental tenet of theory and practice, trumpeted for years as one of mediation’s highest goals.
Is forcing people into mediation contrary to a fundamental underpinning of the field and therefore doomed to failure? If it is, why are more and more jurisdictions adopting mandatory mediation programs? And, most importantly, does mandating mediation work?