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Business Practices
Mediator Ethics Advisory Opinions

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Opinion

Summary

Rule References

2011-015 It is inappropriate and misleading for a certified mediator to use his/her mediator certification credentials to obtain a discount he/she is not otherwise entitled to receive. Part One, Rules 10.110(b) and 10.620
A certified mediator is subject to a good moral character requirement and is prohibited from performing any act which would compromise the mediator’s integrity; however, there is no general prohibition regarding a mediator exhibiting behavior “unbecoming” a mediator. In addition, the actions of an attorney or a party in a mediation, cannot be judged as if they were those of a mediator. Rules 10.110, 10.310(d), 10.420(b) and 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators
The HOA Program billing procedures do not present any per se ethical concerns related to fees, expenses, or impartiality for a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator who participates in this program so long as the fees and their allocation between the parties are disclosed in advance of the mediation to the parties or their counsel, and the parties are given the option of agreeing to that arrangement or negotiating a different one. Rules 10.330, 10.380, and 10.520, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; Section 720.311, Florida Statutes; 61B-82.004, Florida Administrative Code
Ethically, a certified mediator is required to preserve the quality of the profession, to maintain forthright business practices, Rule 10.600, not provide any service that would compromise the mediator’s integrity or impartiality, Rule 10.620, and should support the advancement of mediation by participating in public education, Rule 10.690(c). Consistent with those provisions, it is permissive for the charges for CME to be set by competitive market forces. Rules 10.600, 10.620, 10.690(c), 10.900(a), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; AOSC06-9 (Administrative Order Governing Certification of Mediators) Note: Changes to the Administrative Order in 2006 may impact this opinion.
A mediator may not compensate another for merely making a referral, but may compensate a colleague or mediation service for actual work performed by that colleague or mediation service. Rules 10.380(c)(3), 10.380(e), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators
From the information provided, the panel finds nothing which would preclude a mediator from participating as mediator with the mediation services corporation referenced. Rules 10.340, 10.380, 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Note: Changes to the rules in 2000 may impact this opinion.
The rules imply that any gift to court personnel is prohibited. Rules 10.330(c), 10.530, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; Section 112.148(6)(d), Florida Statutes Note: Changes to the rules in 2000 may impact this opinion.
Pre-suit mediation agreements which name a specific individual as the exclusive mediator are suspect. Rules10.330, 10.340(a) - (b), 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; MEAC 96-001
There are no licensure requirements for mediators, the court may not appoint a corporation as a mediator, but may appoint an individual who is associated with a group. Rules 10.100(b), 10.200, 10.520, 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; 1.720(f) Florida Rules of Civil Procedure
Retention of mediation records is not an ethical issue. MEAC 95-004
Notification of the terms of payment must be furnished to the parties within a reasonable period of time prior to the mediation. Rules 10.310(b)-(c), 10.380(c), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. 96-001 Case referral service involvement. Rules 10.330, 10.340(b), 10.380(e), 10.610, 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators
A mediator who agrees to perform services for a specified fee via court-order, must do so unless relieved of that duty by the court. Rules 10.200, 10.340(d), 10.380, 10.520, 10.620, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; 1.720(g) Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Note: Changes to the rules in 2000 may impact this opinion.
Records retention/disposal requirements are not ethical in nature and therefore not within the jurisdiction of the MEAC. Rules 10.360(c) and 10.380(d), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators
If a mediator is not paid for services, the mediator may seek payment in any lawful manner. Rules 10.380 Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; 1.720(g) Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

Contact


For additional information please contact The Dispute Resolution Center at 850-921-2910 or at DRCmail@flcourts.org.