skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 98563 Find in a Library
Title: Power Imbalances in Dispute Resolution (From Study of Barriers to the Use of Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution, P 137-158, 1984 - See NCJ-97339)
Author(s): M I Levine
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Vermont Law School
South Royalton, VT 05068
Sale Source: Vermont Law School
Dispute Resolution Project
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following definitions of power and a delineation of types of potential power imbalances, the effects of such imbalances in the litigation and the alternative dispute settlement processes are examined.
Abstract: Basic expressions of power include condign (coercion), compensatory (reward), and conditioned power (persuasion). Power may be derived from personality, property/wealth, or organization (unity of purpose). While inequalities of power can take many forms, they fall into two major categories: individual and structural imbalances. Within the legal system, attempts to ensure equality have centered on procedural safeguards, constitutional guarantees, and common law/doctrinal safeguards. Despite these attempts, inequalities exist with poverty creating perhaps the greatest inequality within the legal system. At first glance, alternative dispute resolution strategies, such as mediation and arbitration, may seem to provide a panacea for the disenfranchised grievant. However, this informal justice appears ill-suited for handling disputes among parties of unequal strength and may actually foster and preserve such imbalances. A rethinking of the entire dispute resolution process is needed. A hierarchy of societal problems must be constructed, followed by an organization of interests based on the hierarchy. Block solutions should be attempted where feasible either through political/legislative process or negotiation along a continuum of dispute resolution techniques. Finally, safeguards must be strengthened to ensure greater fairness within formal adjudications. Footnotes and references are provided.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Equal Protection; Mediation; Social organization; Sociological analyses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.