Offering interdisciplinary insights from sociological, psychological and gender studies, this book addresses this question: how do professional, lay and gendered actors understand and experience case processing in litigation and mediation? Drawing on data from 131 interviews, questionnaires and observations of plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers and mediators involved in 64 fatality and medical injury cases, the book challenges dominant understandings of how formal legal processes and dispute resolution work in practice as well as the notion that disputants and their representatives broadly understand and want the same things during case processing. In juxtaposing actors' discourse on all sides of ongoing cases on issues such as expectations, needs, comprehensions of what plaintiffs seek from the legal system, objectives for resolving conflict at mediation, and perceptions of what occurs during attempts at case resolution, the findings reveal inherent problems with the core workings of the legal system.
• This book is unique in examining and understanding the workings of the legal system through juxtaposing lawyers', plaintiffs', defendants' and mediators' perceptions of litigation and mediation in ongoing litigated cases, which has not been done before as access difficulties are immeasurable • Adds to the paucity of in-depth empirical data from plaintiffs and defendants themselves on their motivations, perceptions and extra-legal agendas during litigation and mediation • The findings additionally offer insight into how female and male lawyers practice law and how female and male plaintiffs and defendants experience legal processes
1. Introduction; 2. Great misconceptions or disparate perceptions of plaintiffs' litigation aims?; 3. Voluntary versus mandatory mediation divide; 4. Consequences of power: legal actors versus disputants on defendants' attendance at mediation; 5. Actors' mediation objectives: how lawyers versus parties plan to resolve their cases short of trial; 6. Actors' divergent perceptions of what goes on during mediation; 7. Parallel views on mediators and styles; 8. Conclusion: the parallel understandings and experiences in case processing and mediation.