After more than a decade of critique about the concept of neutrality in mediation, there is no consensus as to its relevance, meaning and application in practice. Although no longer a definitive element of practice, an understanding of neutrality remains an ethical requirement, according the National Mediation Accreditation Scheme. This article reviews the meanings attributed to neutrality and explores two recurrent themes: neutrality as impartiality; and as even-handedness. The author argues that common to these themes is the idea that neutrality is about the limitation (rather than exclusion) of bias, and proposes a review of the National Standards consistent with the reconstruction of neutrality discussed here.
Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal / Vol. 23, Part 2, pp.80-88