Role Play in Mediation Procedure

By | September 17, 2019
role play in mediation procedure

This article discusses the role play in the mediation procedure. Theoretical knowledge has to be collated with practical experience for the all-round growth of an individual. In academics as well, especially for a professional course like that of law, practical exposure is an essential factor for development.

For this reason, the law universities organize mediation competitions and hold successive sessions for inducing the students to engage in mediation and negotiation through which they would learn the ways to tackle situations in real life. Roleplay in literal sense means the portrayal of a mediator or a negotiator by a student in a hypothetical situation.

In a mediation role-play session there are two parties represented by negotiators and two independent mediators. The negotiators are provided with confidential information at the date of the session. Ultimately, the mediators and negotiators play their own parts applying various strategies in the process to reach a settlement.

Roleplay of mediator

  1. Introductory sentence

The introductory sentence of a mediator would include introducing oneself to the parties in a negotiation. The mediators should remind the parties about the process of mediation and the neutrality of the mediator. In order to ensure confidence among the parties, the mediators should ask them to introduce themselves and remind them of the objective of the process of mediation.

The parties should be informed of the fact that the entire procedure is a party-oriented procedure and also acquaint the parties with the fact that whatever they choose to agree over would be accepted.

  1. Setting of agenda

The mediators should set the agenda of the process of the mediation which shall be in the form of questions to ensure that in the process the parties are mot diverted to some other direction.  The agenda should be short and understandable. While making the agenda the mediators should ask the parties whether they that is in consonance with their agenda and make alterations thereto. Throughout the process of mediation, the mediators and the parties should remember to base their arguments in the lines of the given agenda.

  1. Finding the common ground

The mediators should start the process by finding the contention between the parties after which the mediator should try to find a common ground which could resolve the issue at once. For example, there are two sisters fighting over an orange. One wants to use it for making a face pack and the other wants to eat it.

A mindful mediator would try to resolve the issue by dividing the orange giving the peel to one sister to make the face pack and the pulp to the other to eat. Once the common ground is reached between the parties, the entire process of mediation becomes very simple.

  1. Facilitating conversation

The major work of the mediator is to bring the parties o a common ground and thus help them to strike an agreement. Thus the mediator should ensure that the parties are talking to each other. Along with the process of mediation, the mediator should try to preserve the relationships of the parties in a conflict.

Roleplay of negotiators

There are various strategies that negotiators can undertake that can ensure smooth negotiation successfully leading to an agreement.

  • BARGAINING

Bargaining is a type of hard-negotiation strategy where the parties seek to establish a win-lose situation. It establishes a situation of the competition among the parties. This includes stating of offers by both the parties followed by the grant of mutual concession and one of to be strict in one’s want.

  • method given by FISHER/URY

The method enumerated in the book Getting To Yes, which is also known as the principled method. This includes a number of steps to successful negotiation by the negotiators: focusing on interest, settling a final agreement and to ensure objectivity. Through the generation of options and allowing opposite stances to rule in a negotiation, one can also reach a successful settlement

  • Analyzing BATNA

The best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is the best chance for the weaker section to increase the standard of the agreement it would receive in a settlement. the weaker party should generally not consider the agreement that would leave them worse off than their BATNA.

  • CONSIDERING ZOPA

ZOPA is the abbreviated form of a “Zone of Possible Agreement”. It is also called the bargaining range. Once found out Zopa becomes critical to the outcome of negotiation because it is the only zone within which the parties would agree to strike a settlement.

Importance of role play

Role-plays are important because of the several factors starting from the experience it provides to the improvement it causes to the overall skill and character. Listed below are the reasons why role play is important for law students.

1. IMPLEMENTATION OF THEORY

The strategies learned through theory can be applied at the time of role play. Often, there is a vacuum between learning theory and its efficient implementation. The lack of practice of implementation often leads to the problem of facing real-life situations.

2. SKILL DEVELOPMENT

With constant practice of dialogue in negotiation and finding out solutions through mediation, the skills of the students are increased. They learn to tackle different situations. With every practical experience, the skill enhances.

 3.  RELATISTIC

All round development of a lawyer can never be accomplished until one is subjected to real life experiences similar to that of a court. Theory can only teach rules pertaining to an area of law. It should always be substantiated with practice and practical experiences. Mediation is an art that has to be learned through subsequent participation in various practical endeavors.

Once this art is learned, the theoretical aspect becomes further easy to understand. Therefore anyone who participates in role-plays is far more equipped o face the outside world than anyone who has not.

4. ENCOURAGES FURTHER PARTICIPATION

      A chain of events leads to another. Once some students benefit from role-plays the other follow suit. The inclusion of role-playing in the academic curriculum is as important as understanding the theoretical concepts of ADR.

One should always encourage and ensure that the role-plays through competitions and otherwise are included for all-round development and growth.


  1. International mediation(Opens in a new browser tab)
  2. Negotiation: Meaning, Scope, Advantage & Disadvantage(Opens in a new browser tab)
  3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Arbitration(Opens in a new browser tab)

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