ABA Launches National Clearinghouse for Mediator Ethics Opinions

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Ethics Committee has created a national clearinghouse for mediator ethics opinions and decisions. The clearinghouse provides a searchable database with hundreds of opinions on mediator ethics. It includes public domain opinions from 43 states, thus providing the first place to consult for ethical guidance on the practice of mediation.

The clearinghouse is available on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution web site at: http://new.abanet.org/ethics/dispute/Pages/default.aspx. Section of Dispute Resolution Chair Lela Love congratulated the Committee and observed, “This is an excellent new source of information that will help mediators learn from the past to chart a better future. I commend the Committee in developing a single online database for mediators to consult for their ethical inquires. It is an invaluable resource that will help mediators make smart choices in their practice.”

Opinions are catalogued by keyword, category, state, year and opinion type. To create a uniform categorization, each opinion is coded by the nine standards in the Revised Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, adopted in 2005 by the American Bar Association, American Arbitration Association and Association for Conflict Resolution. In addition, the database contains short summaries of each opinion with a hyperlink to the original opinion or document issued by the state or national body, when available.

Section Council Member Dr. Timothy Hedeen noted the value of the clearinghouse to diverse audiences: “This website will prove to be a powerful tool for mediator preparation and practice. Many groups involved in dispute resolution-mediators, ethics review boards, educators and trainers, court ADR administrators and roster managers-should find value in this centralized resource.”

Mediator Marnie Huff, co-chair of the Ethics Committee, commented “Having these opinions housed in one location, in a user-friendly database, enables me to quickly gain analysis of standards of conduct either nationally or by a specific state. In just minutes, I can access guidance about confidentiality and other key issues that arise in mediation practice and in academic settings. Mediators and litigators will turn to the ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s database often.”

Readers can visit the Section’s website at http://www.abanet.org/dispute for more information about the Clearinghouse and to learn more about upcoming Section of Dispute Resolution’s events.