Regulating Mediators

58 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2017

Date Written: November 1, 2016


In the United States consumers engage mediators on a caveat emptor basis. The regulatory scheme for mediators is a patchwork of mediation referral organizations which allows unscrupulous mediators to exploit consumers with little to no recourse. One egregious example is that of Gary J. Karpin, a disbarred lawyer turned divorce mediator, who used the mediation process to con forty people into giving him approximately $250,000 before taking up residence in prison. In an age when everyone from doctors to cosmetologists is subject to occupational regulation, why are mediators virtually unregulated?

Mediators have long been divided on the question of regulation. Those who oppose regulation routinely focus on what is best for the mediation process and practitioners, but not for mediation consumers. For a field that prides itself in understanding and addressing others’ concerns, this stance is odd and untenable. Using traditional arguments for regulation – protecting consumers and the field’s reputation – this paper refutes the established arguments against regulating mediators and contends that mediators should be regulated. In so doing, this paper provides an innovative method for regulating mediators that avoid the pitfalls of prior regulatory attempts.

Keywords: Mediation, Dispute Resolution, Occupational Regulation, Negotiation

Suggested Citation

Hinshaw, Art, Regulating Mediators (November 1, 2016). 21 Harv. Neg. L. Rev. 163 (2016), Available at SSRN:

Art Hinshaw (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

111 E. Taylor St.
MC 9520
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States

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