Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Sing: ABA, ACR and AAA Adopt Revised Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators
Paula Marie Young
Appalachian School of Law
EFFECTIVE LEGAL NEGOTIATION AND SETTLEMENT, p. 346, Charles B. Craver, ed., 2009
MEDIATION AND NEGOTIATION: REACHING AGREEMENT IN LAW AND BUSINESS, p. 722, E. Wendy Trachte-Huber, Peter Robinson & Stephen Huber, eds., 2007
Appalachian Journal of Law, Vol. 5, p. 195, 2006
In 2005, the American Bar Association, the American Arbitration Association. and the Association for Conflict Resolution adopted the revised Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. This article discusses the nine standards of the 2005 Model Standards in a conceptual framework that I hope will prove more useful to mediators who must resolve ethical dilemmas quickly as they arise in mediation. My experience as a mediation trainer tells me that mediators often have difficulty transferring ethical guidelines set out in the typically drafted framework into principles they can use in the moment. The 2005 Model Standards, for instance, provide guidelines that affect neutrality in six separate standards, without showing how they relate to each other and without always showing the aspects of impartiality they affect. Similarly, guidelines affecting party-self-determination appear in two standards. The 2005 Model Standards also discuss the core value of confidentiality in two standards. In addition, they discuss mediator competence in two standards. Finally, this article considers whether the 2005 Model Standards meet the goals set by the Joint Committee and respond to criticisms of the 1994 version. It concludes that the values expressed in the 1994 Model Standards have proved very durable. While the 2005 Model Standards continue to provide only general guidelines on many difficult ethical issues, they provide a healthy framework for discussing and resolving the ethical dilemmas mediators face. To the extent the field needs ethical guidance in specific situations, state ethics advisory boards could (and do) provide that guidance through advisory opinions. In addition, party complaints against mediators provide additional ethical information to practicing mediators when the regulatory body publishes the dispositions of the complaints. However, these bodies still need a set of ethics standards to interpret or enforce.
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Keywords: mediation, mediator, ethics, code, standards
Date posted: May 6, 2011
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