Earlier this month, as part of the Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop, Paula Young, of the Appalachian School of Law, discussed “Mediator Ethics and Impartiality.” She talked about the need for participants in a mediation process to feel they have a chance to tell their story, for them to feel confident that the mediator has considered and understood their perspectives, for the mediator to treat everyone in an even-handed manner, and for the parties and others involved to be treated with respect and dignity.
In many professions, the ethical norms are developed over time and clearly set out in widely accepted, published standards. In some areas, ethical standards become part of a body of law and regulation.
Mediation is different. In Connecticut, a private mediator is not certified or licensed by the state (though there can be confusion about a “certificate” course that produces a certificate that verifies participation in a stated number of hours of education and training.) Instead, parties must find out for themselves if a mediator subscribes to any particular standards.
I follow the approach of the Association for Conflict Resolution ethical principles for mediators and the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. These standards have been carefully considered and reviewed by thoughtful and experienced mediators and provide sound guidance for ethical practice.