I know nothing about the New Minnesota Judicial Code except that it has been recently changed to allow part-time judges to serve as private mediators, effective July 1, 2009. So that means a judge can privately mediate one week and publicly sit on the bench the next.
Perhaps only one step short of allowing sitting judges to mediate. Compare that to more sensible jurisdictions where judges are prohibited from returning to private practice at all. Period.
A dizzying array of issues arise for debate when a sitting, part-time or retired judge takes his or her place at the mediation table, not least being the blurring of the judicial line and self determination at mediation, to say nothing of at-the-table-skills. Some of which are canvassed here at;
1. How wrong can you get?
2. Great on paper, crap at the table
4. It's the mediators who are connected and have authority in their niche who will live long and prosper
5. Professional Mediator: A Distinction that Makes a Difference (Jeff Kichaven)
6. Judicial Ethics and Judicial Settlement Practices: Time for Two Strangers to Meet (Honorable John C. Cratsley)
"All of this novel settlement activity by judges assigned to try these matters confuses the pubic, undermines the traditional judicial role and, in the end, can lead to coerced settlements..."
Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.