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Mediation issues: self-represented parties and power imbalances

February 10, 2012
  • Primarily for economic reasons, more and more individuals are representing themselves in both court and at mediation/arbitration. 
  • This poses a problem for the judge or arbitrator, particularly if only one side has a lawyer, but also if both are unrepresented. 
  • Before embarking on mediation and especially before starting arbitration, both parties should be screened for power imbalance. 
  • The other issue that poses a problem for the mediator/arbitrator is maintaining neutrality.  You can’t be giving one party legal or even procedural advice to the seeming detriment of the other side. 
  • The next several blogs will deal with some of the issues in dealing with self-represented parties in mediation/arbitration.
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