Apologies, mediation and the law: Resolution of civil disputes
School of Arts and Humanities
Mediation is a process that provides opportunities for parties to civil disputes to engage in dialogue that can satisfy their expectations and needs for apologies. While the literature on law and apology identifies why and ways in which the process can be beneficial, there are concerns associated with apologies offered in mediation. This article provides an overview of the apology and mediation literature in which these benefits and concerns are explored and the psychological research that reveals the complexity of apologies. We use case examples that illustrate this complexity and indicate ways that mediators working with parties in mediation who have indicated that apologies are important to them, might work with this. The article also reflects on the ways that the law interacts with apologies in the mediation of private law disputes and concludes that the law plays a significant indirect role in supporting parties who seek an apology as an outcome of mediation.