One of the first questions that clients ask when they’re considering alternative dispute resolution services like mediation and arbitration, is how a panel member or mediator can remain neutral. Each party thinks it’s correct; therefore, each party believes the neutral should “side” with it. During the dispute, however, parties usually realize the panel member’s neutrality is absolutely essential to the ADR process. A panel member must understand each party’s perspective.
In a court trial, lawyers try to persuade a judge or jury to agree with the single party they represent. In mediation, the mediator or neutral is capable if learning all the details in the dispute, and can ask questions of each party.
This means the ADR neutral helps each party communicate and understand each other more clearly. He or she can also gather information from additional experts who can help shed light on the situation.