How to Mediate Amid a Power Imbalance
BY ANN D CAREY
When one party in a conflict holds a significant advantage in terms of finances, legal advice or more personal factors it is a mediator’s job to address this imbalance. Mediator Ann D. Carey says: “When all parties stand on relatively equal footing, regardless of the issues in conflict, mediation works seamlessly.” Have you found yourself in a situation that needed a level playing field before?
Though mediation is intended to provide a neutral, fair environment for the resolution of disputes, it often does not begin as a level playing field. One party may hold a significant advantage in terms of finances, legal advice or more personal factors. It is the job of a competent mediator to address this imbalance, as Ann D Carey explains here with some invaluable advice for ADR specialists.
Conflict exists on every avenue, playground and street corner of our lives. Issues of conflict are endless. It may present itself as a clash of ideas, opinions and principles, a prenuptial agreement or a prolonged commercial litigation battle. When the conflict reaches the level of needing third-party intervention, mediation provides a forum in which the parties come together and negotiate an equitable, fair and reasonable solution to the issues. The mediator facilitates and guides the process through the troubled waters and eventually the parties craft an agreement they have created themselves and are therefore more likely to honour. This is mediation at its core!