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Inviting the other party

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Purpose

Ensuring the other party takes part.

Solutions summary

Practice has shown that to solve the dispute both parties need to take part. This will happen when participating is more attractive than staying away. You can influence this by:
  • Make talking more safe, secure, a positive experience, with a good expected solution.
  • Make not attending appear more expensive, stressful, time consuming, with  uncertain consequences.     
You can do this by:
  • Making parties feel safe and respected. Most facilitators use and recommend a personal visit or phone call to start with. This is not the same in all situations. The best way to approach the other party has to be established. This can be discussed with the client. Or with people close to the other party.
  • Explain who you are and that you want to help to solve the dispute.
  • Tells who has come with a problem and provide a very brief indication of problem. In very neutral terms.
  • Ask for their perspective. Listen carefully to what they say (see tool 6b)
  • Build trust in the process and a good working relationship by explaining and answering concerns.
  • Make sure that your role is understood (tool 1b): that facilitator works for a fair solution appropriate for both parties. 
  • Not start working on solutions to quickly: "Go around the bush."
  • Explain that not taking part is an option. But show that the client will then still need a solution. And may take steps such as involving other people, starting procedures. Threats generally do not seem to work.
  • Making clear the high profile (standing, qualifications, reputation) of the facilitator can be helpful. 
  When you use a letter to influence parties, you need to take into account that: 
  • Authority of letters can be constructive when they are a normal and common way to communicate.
  • Starting with a letter can be scary and intimidating to people who have difficulties to read.
  • A letter can be used as a confirmation. And a way to give more information about your role and the process. The other party can think about this. Or ask advice on it.
  • Letterheads with reference to rights, justice or organizations that support this are helpful. They build trust and make clear that serious consideration is needed. .
Recommendations for a confirmation letter:
  • A brief indication of the dispute. Who experiences the problem? What is it about?
  • Using neutral terms is important. Blaming should be avoided.
  • It should also be made clear that a solution is needed. And that it cannot be found without the help of the other party.
  • Give details of who you are and what your role is: Be as clear as possible about your approach and that you do not 'take sides'.
  • Clearly addressed: The letters or phone calls are clearly addressed to the particular person that you would invite to respond. Sending a letter to a household or family does not work as well. You can include: "please come alone/ bring.." to make it even clearer.
  • Contact details: If they have questions or wish to talk to you about something, it is important that they are able to contact you.
  • Proposal about what will happen next. This could be a meeting with both parties (talk phase) or a separate meeting with the other party (tool 2b).
  • If a meeting take place: send a follow up letter with more details about what to expect.  Example Invitation Letter
  • In some cases, showing the positive effects of participation does not work. The other party may expect to lose a lot from cooperating. Money, loss of face, time. Then the negative consequences of not participating can be stressed. Practices used then:
    • A more formal letter.
    • More clarity about which actions will be taken. 
    • Setting time frames for responses.
    • Threatening with going to courts can help persuade people to cooperate.
    • Even if it is not an attractive option. The treat to cause trouble and costs for the other party can work.

Local solution: Conference Comment

Votes at Conference: 7
  • Most first contacts informally without letter.
  • Make sure you both feel comfortable?
  • Letters can be scary and so have a negative impact
    • But; Local authority do send letters and then people obey. Authority of letters can be constructive.
    • In Kenya mostly formal letters paragraph with friendly tone but clear notice: respond in 15 days.
    • In Indonesia: no letters used in community mediation, but can be good to clarify and structure.
  • You might try and contact a party through another neutral person.
  • Ask big embracing questions: open questions followed by closed questions to ensure understanding.
    • Have you had previous experience with mediation facilitation?
    • What can you tell me that you will not say in group?
    • From your position, what can you do to help a solution?
    • What do you want?
  • Be very clear about whom is in invited, will take part.
  • Be clear about what to expect. Also send a follow up letter with more detail.
  • Do not be too direct
    • go around the bush
    • do not talk too straight.
    • better not emphasize formal emphasize informal.
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Added by: CONFERENCE

Local solution: Invitation letter

Date………./………../…...... Invitation Letter  To: (Name)……………………. Address(Section………………/ House Number……………..)/ (UN number)………………………………….. Incident Type: …………………………………………………………………….. Details…………………………………………………………………  Place to meet: ............................................................. Time                 :……………………………………………………………. Date                 :…………………………………………………………… Remark………………………………………………………………………  Sincerely, Facilitator’s name (SL’s name): ……………………………………… Position  : …………………………………….. Signature: ………………………………………

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Added by: IRC

Local solution: Invitation

It can be very difficult to invite parties to attend a mediation process at a particular time or place. This tool provides mediators with different ways, which have been used in practice so far, to invite parties to attend a mediation process.

Letters

If a mediator is part of an official institution, he should have an invitation form, which includes information about the conflict such as name, gender, address and objectives of the parties, the time, and place that the mediation will take place. This letter should also outline the consequences of not taking part, and inform the party that this is an official process requested by the first party.

Telephone

In the case that the mediator has a closer relationship with the party to be invited, it may be more appropriate and direct to make a phone-call, rather than sending a letter.

Meeting in person

To invite parties in person is the best way because it is an opportunity for mediation. It is especially effective in creating trust, and gives an opportunity to explain to a party who does not want to co-operate the benefits of taking part. In the case that the party is difficult to invite, or is bad tempered, mediators can try to meet them several times. In this way the party can become more co-operative and calm and it will be easier to invite them.

 

 

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Added by: ADHOC

Local solution: How to Write a Good Invitation to the Other Party to Take Part in a Dispute Resolution

Dear,

 

Recently I was contacted by ... .... She explained to me that she has a problem. This problem is ... ... ... .... She said she does not know exactly how this problem can be solved.

She approached me in my role as a neutral interlocutor. She would like to talk with you to solve the issue in good harmony. She asked me to help with these talks as an independent moderator. She hopes that you are also willing to talk to her in order to solve the problem.

I myself am independent and I see my job to identify the problem of what is going on and see how you can solve it. It is important that you jointly find a fair solution so that both of you are satisfied with the outcome. Contribute to this conversation means that Mrs ... and you have to pursue in good agreement. This creates a situation where you both benefit and the solution is also a result of both parties involved.

I like to hear if you are willing to have talks in order to come to a mutual solution. If you do not want to participate in the talks, it is up to Mrs… to decide in what other way the problem can and should be solved. Mrs. ... hopes however that by common consent a solution is found.

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Added by: DAS

Evidence from practice

Multiple Letters: In Bangladesh they use letters in sequence to maximise the opportunity for the other party to take part in the mediation process. First they send a friendly letter, and if there is no response, another friendly letter. If there is still no response then a letter with a more formal tone indicating the risks of non participation and indicating the formal steps that the first party will take if they do not agree to a mediation.

Personal Contact: In Egypt the mediators consider that it is generally better to call the other party on the phone, rather than sending a letter.

Personal Visit and a letter: In Cambodia, CDRC’s find that it is best to go and visit the other person in their home, but they also send a letter to a parties because it is highly effective to make people come to the meeting.

Perseverence: Facilitators in Anlong Veng, Cambodia feel that it is most effective to continue to try and contact the other party 1 2 or 3 times and to maintain a friendly tone.

 

 

Evidence from handbooks

 

The following format for an invitation letter to a mediation can be found at; http://www.consensusmediation.co.uk/adrletter.html

Invitation to ADR
In the spirit of the CPR and in order to achieve a mutually satisfactory settlement of the matters presently in dispute between us clients we are client is willing to participate in confidential, non-binding, voluntary mediation.
Accordingly, we propose that a neutral mediator the panel of Consensus Mediation be appointed to assist the negotiation of a settlement without the imposition of a judgment or other evaluation of the case, and that we clients agree to participate in mediation on a strictly confidential and without prejudice basis, further agreeing that nothing disclosed during the course of the mediation may be admitted as evidence in court or other proceedings.
We invite you your client to agree to participate in good faith. If you are client isunwilling to attempt this method of settlement we reserve the right to bring this letter to the attention of the court on the question of costs pursuant to CPR 44.4 and 44.5, relying inter alia upon the Court of Appeal's decision in Halsey v Milton Keynes NHS Trust.
Please let us have your considered response to this invitation no later than on etc.

"Yours faithfully”

 

Evidence from literature

  • Invitation letters are more effective when they apply the principles of interactional and procedural justice (equality and fairness in the interactions between individuals and in the process as a whole)
Wenzel, M. (2006). "A Letter from the Tax Office: Compliance Effects of Informational and Interpersonal Justice." Social Justice Research 19(3): 345-364.

Inviting the other party

by admin on March 4, 2011

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