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Dispute Resolution: Information and advice: what's the difference?

Date:3 SEP 2012

Marion Stevenson

Mediator, PPC and Trainer:

This article discusses the interface between advice and information. It is vital that clients are fully informed when they make decisions about their futures and mediators cannot allow clients to decide matters with their eyes shut. However, the article argues that information-giving must be handled with great caution because of the clients' perception of the role and expertise of the mediator and the risk that information will be perceived as advice. The mediator must avoid being seen as 'informal judge', in terms of predicting outcomes, which would affect the integrity of the mediation process. The article suggests various ways in which mediators, by paying attention to timing and tone, can support the clients in the process with useful information without affecting impartiality or perceived impartiality.

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