Interview-Monica Hanaway



Please answer those questions you consider more appropriate:

  1. What requirements do you think a good mediator should have?

Good mediators need psychological understanding of the parties to the conflict and of themselves. They need to be able to hold a belief in the possibility of change even when evidence makes them doubt it. During the mediation there will be times when things will feel hopeless and the mediator needs a lot of hope, patience and a good sense of humour.


  1. What training do you consider most adequate to become a good mediator?

As I work from a psychological perspective, I see it as essential that a mediator has some training in that area. Conflict is inter-relational and interpersonal even when it appears to be cold and commercial. Self-esteem is always at stake and the human need to express themselves and be understood is a gift to the mediator who has had some training in the psychology of conflict.


  1. In your opinion, what legislative measures would be necessary to effectively promote mediation in general and business mediation in particular?

This is a very important and difficult question. Being forced to mediate can mean that the party is determined for the process not to work, However, many people still do not understand what mediation is and a little encouragement to give it a try can bring success.

I don’t think that legislation would act as encouragement in the business world. Educating business about the cost effectiveness, in terms of fees and time, can be more effective than compulsion.

In court related cases I believe there may well be a place for legislation making mediation compulsory.


  1. What are the benefits of resolving a dispute through mediation rather than through the courts or arbitration?

There are many benefits in using mediation rather than litigation. Mediation is quick (often one day or less); it is relatively inexpensive; it is risk free and without prejudice; it is informal and generally less stressful; it has a good success rate of over 70%; problems can be addressed before they escalate; it is an easier way to resolve foreign and multi-jurisdictional disputes; it is strictly confidential; it focuses and needs and meaning rather than want; it looks for commonality rather than difference; it looks for an outcome in which both sides gain something; it is collaborative rather than competitive; it can preserve relationships.


  1. What is the most complicated aspect of mediation?

The most complex and challenging aspect of mediation is gaining a real understanding of the psychological motivation of the parties. If a mediator can understand the party’s worldview – values, beliefs, coping strategies etc., they are better positioned to facilitate a settlement which is meaningful to the individual and more likely to sustain.


  1. What conditions should a citizen or enterprise take into account in order to select a good mediator?

This may depend on the nature of the dispute. Personally I do not think it necessary for the mediator to have experience in the area of the dispute. In fact I think this makes it more difficult to mediate rather than adjudicate. I work transformatively not evaluatively – the more I know about the area of the dispute the more likely I am to lose my impartiality and make judgments.


  1. Do you think that mediation is an institution already implanted in our country? Or do you think that it has not been fully accepted by the citizens?

I think there is a long way to go before people truly understand the benefits of mediation rather than see it as compromise.


  1. In your opinion, what is the future of mediation in Europe as an extrajudicial method of dispute resolution?

It should work as it makes sense but we have a long way to go.


  1. What advice would you give to those who think of mediation as a future profession?

It is a fascinating and rewarding profession but not likely to provide full-time employment. It is better as part of a portfolio of offerings.


  1. What is your opinion about online mediation? For which conflicts would online mediation be most useful?

I do not have experience of this so can’t really comment.


  1. What is the work of an international mediator?

This is very varied and covers legal issues across national boundaries and political situations


  1. What does a family mediator do?

This can cover marital and family breakdown


  1. What is criminal mediation? And civil and commercial mediation?

Restorative Justice can sit in the criminal mediation arena. Civil and commercial mediation can cover all manner of disputes.


  1. What do you think is the key factor so mediation can become a regular extrajudicial method of conflict resolution in the international and business fields?

Increased education about what mediation is and its benefits


  1. Do you think mediation could be a solution to the widespread workload problem of the justice system in our country?

Yes but the justice system has to see it as complementary rather than a threat


Please, describe in no more than 10 lines, the work of the organization to which you belong in the field of mediation.


I head a number of mediation services which focus on different areas; – Mediation in Media; Corporate Harmony; Community Harmony; Family Business Mediation. The majority of clients come via word of mouth or our websites and we hold contracts with some Employee Assistance Programmes. I work with street gangs and undertake work for the Desmond Tutu Foundation e.g. with paramilitaries in Belfast and on gender related violence in the Cape Town townships.


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