Third-Party Intervention: Successful Entry for the Uninvited
In order to handle the increasing number and substantial costs of disputes in negotiation or mediation, courts are focusing more on a third-party intervention strategy which does not wait for the disputing parties to request help, but demands that intervenors enter the disputing process on their own initiative. The goal is to help parties resolve damaging disputes earlier and more wisely, thus avoiding the problems and added costs of extended conflict. The danger, however, is that the unsolicited offer may have a negative impact on the parties, serving only to aggravate rather than to heal the wounds of controversy. This article examines the obstacles confronting the uninvited third party intervenor in gaining entry to a dispute and proposes several guidelines for the uninvited third party to use in meeting the challenge of entry. This article also provides examples of successful and unsuccessful uninvited third-party interventions and identifies some of the elements of successful entry by using four analytic categories: third-party resources, the substance of the dispute, interpersonal relationships, and the procedural environment for the intervention.