Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Retired Judges As Mediators – Only in California!

According to this article on Law.com retired judges in California who provide ADR services are, well, not happy about a move by the State Bar proposing to enforce a longstanding policy that requires anyone who makes a living doing alternative dispute resolution to retain active status. While mediation is not the practice of law, the State Bar is taking the “position” that ADR an provider is “occupying a position wherein he or she is called upon to give legal advice or counsel or examine the law or pass upon the legal effect of any act, document or law.”

Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Rule 10.370 Professional Advice or Opinions, provides, in part:

(c) Personal or Professional Opinion. A mediator shall not offer a personal or professional opinion intended to coerce the parties, decide the dispute, or direct a resolution of any issue. Consistent with standards of impartiality and preserving party self-determination however, a mediator may point out possible outcomes of the case and discuss the merits of a claim or defense. A mediator shall not offer a personal or professional opinion as to how the court in which the case has been filed will resolve the dispute.

Measured against Florida’s Rule, what do you think about the California State Bar position?

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