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<xTITLE>Mediator ethics: how professional codes of conduct fall short</xTITLE>

Mediator ethics: how professional codes of conduct fall short

by Diane J. Levin

From Mediation Channel

Diane J. Levin

What choice for mediators facing ethical dilemmas?ADR scholar and law professor Michael Moffitt has rightly lamented the lack of meaningful guidance that professional rules of conduct for mediators provide the practitioner. This is especially so when more than one ethical duty is at stake, since codes of conduct provide no instruction on how best to balance one ethical duty against another.

A case from Pennsylvania demonstrates the challenges real-life issues raise. The York Daily Record reports on the controversy generated by the selection of a neutral to mediate a land seizure dispute between county commissioners and land owners. The mediator had served as re-election campaign manager for the president commissioner, who had voted in favor of the land owners. All parties were aware of the mediator’s ties, yet selected him because of his reputation for honesty as the best person to help them settle their differences. Meanwhile, some members of the public are not pleased by the decision.

It’s a real-life case that pits two ethical duties against each other: party self-determination on the one hand, and on the other, the duty to identify, disclose, and avoid conflicts of interest.

If it were you, what would you have done?

Biography


Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property issues, and serves on numerous mediation panels, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Training and coaching are an enduring passion -- she has taught thousands of people to resolve conflict, negotiate better, or become mediators -- from Croatian judges to Fortune 500 executives.

 

A geek at heart, Levin consults on web design and social media to professionals.  She blogs about ADR at the intersection of law, science, and popular culture at the award-winning MediationChannel.com, regarded as one of the world's top ADR blogs.  She also tracks and catalogues ADR blogs world-wide at ADRblogs.com, where she has created a community for bloggers writing about constructive ways to resolve disputes.

 

web site: http://dianelevin.com



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