Mediation is an ancient practice which takes many forms and operates in a wide range of dispute resolution settings. As one of the primary forms of dispute resolution it can, in theory, be distinguished from negotiation and adjudication by the presence of a third party who supports the maintenance of a dialogue. This contribution considers the part that Philip Gulliver’s work has played in our understanding of how disputes evolve and when intervention by a third party is of value. His work alerts us to the cyclical nature of dispute resolution in which the provision of venue, structure and the flow of fresh information helps to fuel discussion and renders resolution possible. Mediation practice in the West has generally idealized a minimal role for mediators in this process. Recent years have also seen the emergence of more active roles for mediators in which they play a more active role in the framing of issues and outcomes.
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