Beyond the Paradox of Neutral Intervention: Towards a Situated Theory of Mediator Neutrality
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 146-154, 2010
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/64
Mediator intervention in the power relationships of disputants often leads to claims that, in practice, mediators are breaching their theoretically "neutral" status in the mediation. This article contends that mediator intervention in the power relations of negotiating disputants should not be seen as being paradoxical to the mediator’s neutral role. It argues that the meaning attributed to “neutrality” is ultimately dependent upon the individual parties and the particular circumstances of each dispute and therefore cannot be perceived in absolute terms. The result of accepting the inherent "situatedness" of the concept of neutrality would be to allow multiple meanings to be ascribed to the state of being neutral, thus opening up a space for affirmative mediator intervention to prevent unfair outcomes without mediators necessarily renouncing their neutral role in the process.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: mediation, neutrality, negotiation, power
JEL Classification: K10, K30,
Date posted: July 13, 2010 ; Last revised: July 28, 2010
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