Facilitative vs Evaluative Mediation

Most mediators use the facilitative mediation approach, where the mediator’s primary role is to facilitate a problem-solving conversation.  A facilitative mediator focuses on the negotiation process.[1]  Facilitative mediators assist the parties in identifying the issues, finding common underlying interests, and formulating proposals to resolve the dispute. They do not provide assessments or predictions, and they usually do not have training or expertise in the particular subject-matter in dispute. [2]

Evaluative mediators provide feedback and guidance to the parties based on the mediator’s industry knowledge and previous experience with similar disputes.[3] In other words, an evaluative mediator evaluates the dispute based on his or her professional knowledge and experience, allowing the parties to use this expert knowledge during mediation.  Further, an evaluative mediator provides the parties with information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their positions and may predict likely court outcomes.[4]  Evaluative mediators may also propose agreements based his or her expertise in the area and the parties’ interests.[5]

[1] Frenkel & Stark, The Practice of Mediation  § 3.6,76.

[2] Id. at 76

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Leonard Riskin, Understanding Mediators’ Orientations, Strategies, and Techniques:  A Grid for the Perplexed, 1 Har. Negot. L. Rev. 7, 31 (1996).