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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 35 No 1 (2017) Ethics in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Ethical Concerns for Owners Corporation Managers who Informally Mediate in Owners Corporation Disputes: The Need for a Community of Practice

Kathy Douglas is an Associate Professor in law at RMIT University. 

Rebecca Leshinsky is a built environment lawyer.

An owners corporation is the legal entity in Victoria that holds jointly owned assets in housing developments such as apartments, medium density townhouses and master planned estates. In Victoria, the legislation governing these entities is the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and specific sections of the Subdivision Act 1988. Conflicts in owners corporations are not uncommon and the owners corporation or strata managers may informally mediate disputes. This article will outline research into the experience of conflict in owners corporations from the perspective of strata managers and discuss mediator ethics in this context. Managers, as informal ‘insider’ mediators, may experience a number of ethical dilemmas, most notably the issue of impartiality/ neutrality. They are part of a growing group of mediators that operate outside of the National Mediation Accreditation System. The article suggests the need for a community of practice of managers who informally mediate so that ethical concerns in their specific context can be shared and debated.

(2017) 35(1) Law in Context p118

   
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