Abstract:In this article, the authors first use existing research evidence to contextualize more clearly the place of civil case mediation in the litigation process. When we understand civil mediation as part of adversarial litigation – rather than as distinct from it – we see the importance of comparing mediation and unassisted negotiation. Next, we discuss research and commentary on the barriers to negotiation and on the ways in which mediation might help overcome them. Finally, we reexamine briefly the research about preferences for mediation and the modest body of existing studies that do contrast litigant experiences with mediation and unaided negotiation in the context of litigation. This reexamination hints that “it may in fact be true” – that is, participation in mediation may enhance parties' perception of procedural justice. Before we can be confident in the answer to this question, however, research is needed that carefully compares the experiences of parties in mediation with those in unassisted negotiation.