Chapter 11: Doing it online: is mediation ready for the AI age?
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Dubbed the pandemic-proof process, mediation has shown itself to be highly adaptable to legal, economic, political and socio-cultural changes. As a dispute resolution mechanism, mediation is characterised by its procedural agility, cultural responsiveness, focus on party autonomy, and collaborative principles of negotiation and decision-making. Mediation offers a client-centred dispute resolution procedure, which features diverse practice models and the capacity for parties and their lawyers to have input into the design of each mediation process. This chapter places the spotlight on mediation and examines the considerations that institutional service providers (ISPs) of mediation need to take into account in making the shift to digitising mediation services. The central question explored in this chapter is: How can the transition from live to online mediation practice take place in a manner that upholds the integrity of the mediation process? What efforts should be made in this transition to enhance the user experience beyond the technical exigencies that externalities impose on personalised engagement? The analysis culminates in a call to action to include both the service providers and the users themselves in the larger narrative surrounding this conscious endeavour to see technology and digitising move beyond expedience and embrace contextual mediation imperatives.

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