Negotiating in Good Faith/ Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on February 21, 2015


How is this for a good quote, by Henry Adams,  about dealing in good faith?

“No man likes to have his intelligence or good faith questioned, especially if he has doubts about it himself.”

A person who is not able to fully engage in a mediation, may be hampered by prior judgments, commitments, or experiences. A mediator needs to help the parties sort out the motivation for their positions, especially where they are showing signs of intransigence or simply bad faith. A simple question such as “Would you mind explaining to your spouse/partner why you feel your position is a tenable one?” may be enough to allow for a review of positions that have hardened, without good reason.  A variant question might be “Is your current position a good enough reason to cause this mediation to come to a standstill?”

It is difficult for a party to acknowledge that they are working in bad faith. At times though, the mediator may be able to get the party to question, per the Henry Adams quote, whether or not the party herself/himself is indeed holding doubts as to the wisdom or propriety of the position in question. No resolution of a problem can be anticipated in the absence of a healthy dose of good faith.

Mediate don’t litigate.