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Abstract

Power is a dynamic that every mediation practitioner and academic will have confronted at some stage. Much has been written on the nature and types of power, and the implications of power differences for participants, the mediator and the process itself. How mediators should attempt to deal with power differences and the impact of mediator interventions on both neutrality and the parties’ perceptions of the legitimacy of the process are fundamental issues of on-going concern. This article focuses attention on the increasing number of statutes in Australia and New Zealand that provide for the resolution of disputes by mediation and conciliation, and the ways that statutory processes address power differences between the parties. While the statutory examples are drawn from these jurisdictions, the power issues and statutory mechanisms will be pertinent in other jurisdictions.

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