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CHAPTER 1 MEDIATION FROM AN HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE

International Commercial Mediation

Page 1 1 MEDIATION FROM AN HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE Mediation predates written history and legal scholars disagree as to when the first known example of mediation actually occurred. Each culture, however, shows evidence that mediation was used at some point in its development. As an example ancient Chinese literature tells the story of one Emperor who ruled over 4000 years ago. At that time the main city in China was under the reign of Emperor Shuen. His people had disputes and quarrelled with each other and their disputes became increasingly difficult to resolve other than through actual fighting. Those that lived in the mountains argued and fought over the borders of their land, the lake people argued and fought about the title to their homes, and those that lived along the riverbanks used the abundant clay to make pottery which unfortunately was defective so when sold caused even more problems and disputes. The Emperor just couldn’t come up with an easy solution to resolve all of the various disputes nor was he able to come up with an effective method for the prompt resolution of disputes when they arose. He decided that the best way would be to go out among his people, to live with them, to observe what it is that they did and to help them fashion some method of resolving their problems without the need for physical aggression. Ultimately he went to each of these areas to get to know the people better—he observed the farmers and farmed with them to see how their culture worked and to help determine why land disputes broke out, he fished with the fishermen to observe their practices and to see how and why problems arose, and he went to the people along the riverbanks to watch as they made pottery and to see if he could find a solution to why they were having their problems.

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