International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Mediation opportunities for the surveying profession in Tennessee
Jerry D. Taylor

Many surveyors seek to be more than technicians who locate land boundaries in accordance with a rigid and inflexible set of rules. While they have the role of applying legal rules and principles in locating boundaries and disclosing problems, many also try to go beyond that and help clients try to find solutions to the problems that are disclosed. This is the role Justice Thomas M. Cooley wrote about in his essay entitled "The Judicial Function of Surveyors" over 100 years ago. Since then surveyors have debated the apparent conflict between the desire to go beyond the role of a technician and the lack of authority to do so. Recent trends in the legal profession, notably the overcrowding of the courts and the move towards Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) devices, especially mediation, have opened a window of opportunity for surveyors to fulfill the role written about by Justice Cooley. This paper will examine the role envisioned by Justice Cooley, the concept of mediation as it is currently evolving, and show the existence of both an opportunity and a need for surveyors to fulfill the role of mediators in boundary disputes, especially within the state of Tennessee.

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