Judges As Mediators

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
3. Double-Dipping
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)

“It was during a workshop on corporate America’s expectations of professional mediators. The moderator asked a panelist, the general counsel of a household-name company, what he looked for in a mediator. He responded that he wanted “a judge” with this attribute, “a judge” with that strength, “a judge” who lacked weakness”

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…”

                        author

Geoff Sharp

Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering… MORE >

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