Beyond the Paradox of Neutral Intervention: Towards a Situated Theory of Mediator Neutrality

Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 146-154, 2010

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/64

14 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2010 Last revised: 28 Jul 2010

Tony Bogdanoski

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: mediation, neutrality, negotiation, power

JEL Classification: K10, K30,

Suggested Citation

Bogdanoski, Tony, Beyond the Paradox of Neutral Intervention: Towards a Situated Theory of Mediator Neutrality (2010). Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 146-154, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/64. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1639074

Tony Bogdanoski (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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