With an effective date of August 1, 2006 in In Re: Petition of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy Committee on Amendments to Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Case No. SC05-998, [Fla. 2006] the Florida Supreme Court today adopted proposed amendments to Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, which replaces the current mediator certification requirements contained in Rule 10.100 with a new certification requirements “point system,” outlined in an administrative order which is attached to the opinion. This provides applicants with more flexibility in obtaining certification and has the potential to increase the diversity of the mediation profession in Florida!
In addition to the new point system for certification, certain ethical rules have been amended. The revised rules [with the changes in bold] are as follows:
Rule 10.360. Confidentiality (a) Scope. A mediator shall maintain confidentiality of all information revealed during mediation except where disclosure is required or permitted by law or is agreed to by all parties.
Rule 10.370. Advice, Opinions, or Information
(c) Personal or Professional Opinion. A mediator shall not offer a personal or professional opinion intended to coerce the parties, unduly influence 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.
Rule 10.420. Conduct of Mediation
(a) Orientation Session. Upon commencement of the mediation session, a mediator shall describe the mediation process and the role of the mediator, and shall inform the mediation participants that:
(3) communications made during the process are confidential, except where disclosure is required or permitted by law.
It’s well worth your time to read this 48 page opinion!
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