The mediator’s role is to reduce obstacles to communication and assist in identifying issues, exploring alternatives, and facilitating voluntary agreements resolving the dispute. However, the ultimate decision-making authority rests solely with the parties. A mediator will not determine who is “right” or “wrong”, or whether a particular agreement is “good” or “bad” for a party.
The mediator assists the parties in reaching their own resolutions. The mediator cannot negotiate on behalf of any party, give professional advice, or represent any of the parties. Decisions made during mediation are made by the parties alone. The mediator is responsible for assisting them in reaching informed and voluntary decisions while protecting their right of self-determination. The parties are free to consult with the attorney of their choice during mediation.
The mediator must promote awareness of the interests of persons affected by actual or potential agreements who are not represented at the mediation. In raising awareness of the interests of others, however, the mediator should still respect each party’s right to make their own decisions. The mediator may not advocate a particular position.
The mediator may not coerce or improperly influence any participant to make a decision or
unwillingly participate in mediation. The mediator may not intentionally or knowingly
misrepresent any material fact or circumstance during the mediation. If, for any reason, a party is unable to freely exercise self-determination, the mediator must cancel or postpone the mediation.
The mediator may provide information which the mediator is qualified by training or experience to provide, consistent with standards of impartiality and preserving the parties’ self determination. However, the mediator may not offer a personal or professional opinion intended to coerce the parties, decide the dispute, or direct a resolution of any issue. The mediator may point out possible outcomes of the case and discuss the merits of a claim or defense. The mediator may not offer a personal or professional opinion as to how the court in which the case has been filed will resolve the dispute.
When a mediator believes a party does not understand or appreciate how an agreement may
adversely affect legal rights or obligations, the mediator will advise that party of the right to seek independent legal counsel.
The mediator must maintain impartiality throughout mediation. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action, and appearance, and includes a commitment to assist all parties and not any one side. The mediator must be patient, dignified, and courteous during mediation. The mediator must conduct mediation in an even-handed, balanced manner. The mediator must promote mutual respect among the parties throughout the mediation process, and encourage the parties to conduct themselves in a collaborative, non-coercive, and non-adversarial manner.
The mediator may not mediate a matter which presents a conflict of interest, unless such conflict is voluntarily waived by all parties. A conflict of interest arises when any relationship between the mediator and the parties or the subject matter of the dispute compromises or appears to compromise the mediator’ s impartiality.