For those that are not familiar with the subject of conflict resolution, the usual question is whether conflict resolution is a part of law, or whether law is a part of conflict resolution? This questions seems to be analogous to the eternal debateconcerning the chick and the egg, which came first. The relevant fact is not on which is embedded in the other, but rather the fact that they compliment each other in the systemic administrationand the desire to obtain justice for all. There are issues that can only be resolved by the law courts, and such issues ought go to the courts for resolution. There are others that however no matter what the decision of the court is, will work injustice; those have no place in our formal legal system, but ought to be consigned to the realm of conflict resolution. Again, there is the issue of choice, which is a very important protected right of the citizenry. Every one ought to have a choice as to how they wantthsir conflicts resolved, whether through the law courts or through the informal processes of conflict resolution.
For starters, science has now definitively settled that the egg came first as the DNA is encoded in the shell!
the usual question is whether conflict resolution is a part of law, or whether law is a part of conflict resolution?
While conflict resolution may be part of the law, the law is greater than conflict resolution as the law also address punishment and liberty. These elements are generally not considered to be directly apparent components of conflict resolution.
Consider binding arbitration in labor contracts/disputes or in civil lawsuits. While I agree with another poster that for some/most criminal offenses, the defendant shouldn't have a choice about how their case is settled, the conflict resolution for civil maters has been quite successful, and I would say much more efficient that the court system in most cases.
The law, of course, has allowed for/created the system of arbitration for conflict resolution, so we're back to your chicken and egg argument.
Law is essential in the conflict resolution process because some conflicts are really created out of malice or in hopes of changing rules that are in place and are already effective.
For example, a lot of people make grievances concerning their working conditions. However, their working conditions are not unhealthy, dangerous, nor invasive: Just tedious or not as satisfactory as they thought. Hence, they blame their anger on something or someone else and bring up a grievance. If there aren't any laws to control the extend to which a grievance should be considered valid, then everyone would have a free lead to start whatever they want. Therefore, while conflict resolution should be conducted taking into consideration the importance of the legal procedures, the act itself should abide by the parameters suggested by a court of law.
I think mediation is a great idea. Often when courts get involved the judgement is legal, but not necessarily fair. Mediation ensures that other factors besides legal ones are considered. There is a more human element to this, as far as I am concerned.
Perhaps everyone ought to have a choice, but that's not always possible. For example, when two people are getting divorced, who gets to pick? In any legal dispute, it would surely be possible for one party to want conflict resolution while the other wanted a court. Who, then, gets to choosse?
I agree with you on many of your points, except for one: "Every one ought to have a choice as to how they want their conflicts resolved." I find this option, for some offenders, to be non-negotiable. Some people, involved in conflict resolution, do not merit the choice of existing within the court or outside. My feeling is that once a person commits specific crimes (conflicts against society because of a conflict with society) they should not be rewarded by allowing to choose the "venue" by which the conflict resolution is to take place. There are simply certain crimes which a person gives up specific rights (not those to be tried of course) given the nature of the crime.