Mediation News

18-06-2014

Independent Mediators

Independent mediators, are they? Well any mediator that you look to appoint should be independent, one of the key guiding principles to practicing as a mediator is the mediators undertaking to act independently, to be completely impartial and not to take sides.

Independent Mediators – EU Code.

This is underpinned by the European Union Model Code of Conduct for Mediators of 2004, the mediators Bible, if you will, section two of the Code refers to independence and impartiality and subsection 2.1 states that a mediator must disclose to any parties that have appointed, looking to appoint him or her, anything that could be seen to affect their independence and or any potential conflicts of interests.

For example a pre existing relationship with any of the parties, business or personal, some interest in the outcome, settlement of the mediation such as a financial interest, direct or indirect.

Despite the above stipulations, after disclosing such, if the parties consent and the mediator can assure the parties that they will and can undertake the mediation by being completely impartial, then they may proceed, however in such circumstances the mediator must tread very carefully and be absolutely sure they will act in complete independence.

The mediator is under a strict duty to disclose to the parties throughout the whole mediation process any potential conflict of interests.

At Effective Dispute Solutions we get several enquiries where parties confuse the role of the mediator and ask if I or one of my 53 mediators can represent them, and will fight their corner, to which I respond the appointed mediator will represent both / all parties and endeavour to get out of the process the best possible result for both /all of the parties, not just for one of the parties.

This ties into subsection 2.2 of the Code pre mentioned, impartiality, that a mediator must at all times act, be seen to be acting with impartiality towards the parties, and to treat all parties equally.

Independent Mediators – Mediators Opinion.

What does a mediator do if they have their own views on a particular aspect of a dispute, or even one of the parties? Simple, they should not act on in, nor let it cloud their ability to conduct the mediation, if they are able to do this, then they can continue to act as the parties mediator, if for some reason they feel it will affect their ability, then they need to withdraw from the appointment and not conduct the mediation.