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November's Alternatives: More Arguing Over Credentialing (Nov. 11)

The cover story in the new November Alternatives is a response to the cover a month earlier, when a U.K. mediator raised a pack of concerns about a new credentialing initiative.

Responding to the October front-page article criticizing their nascent mediator credentialing efforts as overelaborate and likely to be ineffective, representatives of a Dutch nonprofit that wants to establish the program fire back in a new article, defending their project.

The seven authors say they believe that boosting availability of background information available on neutrals would provide more security for parties, and increase the use of mediation in cross-border disputes.  That, in turn, would help lower litigation costs for multinational companies.

The authors write that  "200 years ago, it might have been possible for anyone to make a living as a doctor or lawyer without any type of certification. Today,
no reasonable person would take their medical or legal problems to someone who was not certified to an established competency level in the fields of medicine
and law. Certification is a way of telling members of the public that they can trust
the competency of the person providing a particular service, even if they themselves lack the ability to make such an assessment."

The target of the response, and author of last month's article, U.K. mediator Tony Willis, gets the last word here, emphasizing that he believes in credentialing, but "the IMI attempt will not achieve its objectives and, worse, will actually impede the
growth and transparency the [IMI representatives] say they believe in."

Subscriptions and articles are available for purchase here, where individuals at CPR members also get free access to the current issue, as well as an archive going back nearly five years.  Alternatives is published by the CPR Institute and Jossey-Bass, a unit of John Wiley & Sons.