Audiatur et altera pars: why this principle from Roman law is also decisive when dealing with today’s conflicts
Audiatur et altera pars (lat.) – The other side must also be heard. This principle is a fundamental procedural right; It was formulated in Roman law, but also before that. The version of one of two or more participants in the conflict is and remains one of several points of view and thus realities. Without hearing the other side, there would be more unfair judgments.
Audiatur et altera pars is also crucial for out-of-court conflict moderation.
Audiatur et altera pars stands for constructivist neutrality
In systemic-constructivist work in a conflict context, we look for the interactions that arise from thinking, evaluating and acting.
- It could be a board of management that makes incomprehensible announcements – and a workforce that internally resigns.
- Or: a key account manager who demands increased sales but wants to save on marketing
Wherever you look, there are very diverse, supposedly conflicting interests and concerns.
It is therefore a matter of getting as much under one roof as possible – and negotiating further sustainable compromises for everything.
All-partiality is an art – and it is indispensable
All-partiality must be used for thorough and basic conflict moderation in all cases:
- when dealing with conflict-laden interactions between two or more people (see also Rosenberg model)
- with a look at the ambivalences and the polyphony within ourselves: while one side of me … would have another side so would …
For conflict moderation, we therefore always listen to and look at all sides – and we take time for them.
Attempts to ignore a concern in a person or the pursuit of an outcome or a value system in a team lead to invisible herds of elephants in the room. Ignored inner parts (ego states) could escalate in the form of excessive demands and accusations.
Ego-States in Organizations
There are different departments in a company. The roles are also distributed in each team (not always obvious). There are even departments in every person. We consciously use the methaper of the company’s departments for ego states (personality parts or states of being). This makes it clear what demands we have on our work.
If you only want to talk to the boss (mind), you will not reach the company. We want (and have to) know exactly which protagonists are involved in a conflict: so that we can find a negotiating level at which those involved in the conflict can enter into the dialogue we moderate.
So ego states in business – with that we are in business with a solution approach. Audiatur et alter pars is the key.
Audimus et spectamus omnes partes
Audimus et spectamus omnes partes (lat.) – We hear and look at all inner parts. Our principle as pragmatists and constructivists is to listen and watch in slow motion. In this way, the elephant in the room stands out – but it no longer looks threatening because it is gaining shape.