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INTRODUCTION - THE OBJECTIVE OF FAIRNESS On the 31st of March 2001 Attorney-General Daryl Williams launched the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Councils NADRAC discussion paper on The Development of Standards for Alternative Dispute Resolution Among the core objectives for ADR highlighted by NADRAC in this document was that ADR uses a process which is considered by the parties to be fair This objective of fairness is reflected in NADRACs 1997 paper entitled Alternative Dispute Resolution Definitions which defines mediation in the purely facilitative sense as a process in which the parties to a dispute with the assistance of a neutral third party the mediator identify the disputed issues develop options consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement The mediator has no advisory or determinative role in regard to the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution but may advise on or determine the process of mediation whereby resolution is attempted Whilst the term fairness is not easily defined within the context of mediation it is generally understood to encompass the notions of neutrality and impartiality on the part of the mediator and the concept of confidentiality throughout and subsequent to the mediation However these ethical requirements of the mediation process are limited in a number of ways DEFINING NEUTRALITY AND IMPARTIALITY The terms neutrality and impartiality are often used interchangeably although neutrality generally relates to the nature of the involvement of the mediator whilst impartiality is usually used to denote a lack of favouritism or bias Provisions such as the mediator shall before and during mediation process disclose to the parties any circumstances which may cause or have any tendency to cause a conflict of interest and mediators are committed to assist all parties in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement and not to favour any one party over another reflect the notions of neutrality and impartiality respectively Despite the distinction however there is clearly
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