Neutrality is arguably no longer an uncontested founding principle for the practice of mediation since both academic studies and practice reflections have found it to be absent in practice. The aim of the research reported here was to explore meaningful constructions of the concept of neutrality through an examination of the actual experience of mediators. The central question was: how do mediators make sense of neutrality in practice? The most important finding is the emphasis placed by participants on the principle of party self-determination in their attempts to deal with the dilemmas of neutrality. This finding is important because it points to the development of an alternative conception of neutrality, one that abandons neutrality in an absolute sense, but reframes its meaning in relation to that of party selfdetermination. An alternative discourse for understanding mediator neutrality based on this finding and incorporating a postmodern construction of power is advanced in this paper.
Queensland University of Technology Law and Justice Journal / Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.139-157