Author: Afshaa Hakim, Student at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat
Mediation is one of the modes of alternate dispute resolution where a third impartial person(s) assists the parties in dispute, to reach a settlement. It is a popular mode of dispute resolution for disputes relating to family law, such as divorce, domestic abuse, child custody etc. As an informal system of attaining justice, there are several criticisms regarding whether mediation has a manipulative potential or not. It is said to foster the ‘privatisation of life’ which dismisses important aspects such as the structural conflicts that exists between different classes in society, or that which exists between the citizens and the state. Moreover, it is important to analyse whether it is detrimental to those who are less empowered than others, or if the formal legal system help them better in order for them to aggressively represent themselves and help protect existing rights while enabling the creation of new legal safeguards. – This is perhaps the point in which a feminist analysis of mediation is necessary, and this paper tries to understand ‘whether mediation challenges or reinforces gender inequality in our society, and if at all it does, should it be abandoned altogether or be used in a constructive manner’. While acknowledging that feminism loses its essence if it is not intersectional in its approach, the paper has however, limited itself to family law problems faced by individuals who are ‘cisgender’.