Parties to any kind of conflict are recognizing the advantages of examining how reasonable their expectations are of each other. They find it more satisfactory to accommodate their expectations of each other and to settle their differences by agreement. More often than not, parties in conflict who examine each other's expectations learn more about the validity of their own expectations.
The notion of examining expectations is not really new. The early Quakers practiced what was known to them as the "Gospel Order." A particular friend of each party in the conflict conferred with a neutral who had the respect of both. The parties either agreed with the neutral and resolved their conflict, or failed to agree and terminated their relationship with each other. They specifically eschewed the technique of forcing resolution by some authority.
What is new is the rising burden on parties in conflict which is created by our ordinary systems of authority. Our clogged court systems have not only failed to resolve conflicts, they have complicated them with intricate, time consuming and expensive strategies.
Statistics demonstrate that only 5% of pending cases are disposed of by judgments rendered by the court. It is what is happening to the 95% of the cases not disposed of by judgment that is new. Although those cases are occupying the resources of our court system, it is quite apparent that the court is serving only as a reservoir. The court does not dispose of them; the parties do. They either engage in adversarial bargaining to reach a settlement in time to avoid trial, or they submit the conflict to a neutral third party for mediation.