Consumers prefer mediators who "do not offer an overt opinion" and have good communication skills, according to a new study. Almost half of the respondents questioned preferred mediators who offered no legal or commercial opinion. Only one in 10 said they liked an intermediary who would be willing to offer an opinion and even suggest settlement figures. Author of the study Amanda Bucklow said that mediators have spent more than 15 years trying to establish mediation as the preferred method of alternative dispute resolution without looking at what consumers want. Bucklow said "informed decisions" could now be made.