Imbalances of Power in ADR
36 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 2, 2012
In recent decades, Alternative Dispute Resolution processes have gained worldwide recognition, a growing role in legal practice, and academic attention. Despite their professed advantages they have also faced fierce opposition. In a seminal article, Owen Fiss argued that ADR exacerbates imbalances of power between the parties. But while the theoretical argument has been widely discussed and developed in academic literature, empirical evidence has remained scant. This Article purports to bridge the gap. It empirically examines the impact of two seemingly relevant factors in inherently imbalanced legal disputes: representation and dispute resolution method. Arguably, professional representation of weaker parties may reduce the effects of inequality, whereas less formal, transparent and adjudicatory processes may exacerbate them.
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