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Mediator Neutrality

Mediator Neutrality

How crucial is neutrality in your line of mediation work?



Full Transcript

It’s a given. You can’t do this work if you are going to be… One of the first things I say when I’m training people is you have to understand the difference between process and content. Particularly if you are a facilitator, particularly in a very political situation.


This is why the independence and impartiality is such a given. In the commercial world there’s been this long time debate about the difference between facilitative and evaluative mediation for example. Boy, in my world, if you’re evaluative, you’re shown the door very quickly. The twitch of an eyebrow at the wrong moment and you’re out on your ear. You really, really do have to be detached. You would advise on the process but you do not ever, ever express an opinion on the content.


I always quote Clement Attlee who was described by one of… he apparently sat on the fence for so long that the iron had entered into his soul. I identify with that really. I don’t have opinions about it and if I do, I don’t do the work actually.

About the mediator

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Andrew Acland specialises in designing and facilitating stakeholder dialogue and consultation processes in complex, multi-party, multi-issue contexts, often with environmental and social sustainability dimensions. Andrew began his working life as a political analyst specialising in East-West relations and arms control. In 1985, while working on the staff of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, he acted as assistant to the Archbishop’s envoy, T... View Mediator