Ethics in Mediation:

Protecting the Integrity of the Mediation Process

by Randall E. Butler
Published in the Houston Lawyer, journal of the Houston Bar Association


Since the enactment in 1987 of the Texas ADR Act it has been the express policy of the State of Texas to encourage the peaceable resolution of disputes and the early settlement of pending litigation through voluntary settlement procedures. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, sec. 154.002. In the thirteen years since the enactment of this enabling legislation mediation has grown from a little known arcane process to the most widely used alternative dispute resolution procedure in the state. While the success rate of mediation has fallen somewhat in recent years, based on anecdotal research, it still enjoys a high success rate. While I have no data to back up the assertion, in my experience the public holds the mediation process and mediators in high esteem.

But if the publicís confidence in the mediation process were to be eroded, the efficacy of mediation as a peaceable resolution process would be diminished. Most mediators were taught that risk is the mediatorís currency. I disagree. Before the parties will even grant passport to a mediator to speak to them of the risks inherent in their dispute, they must first trust the mediator. The foundation of the effectiveness of mediation is the confidence of the participants in the integrity of the mediator.

The purpose of the Ethical Guidelines for Mediators promulgated by the ADR section of the State Bar of Texas is to promote that public confidence in the mediation process. However the Ethical Guidelines of the State Bar, as well as the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, function only as a general guide for mediator conduct. They do not serve as disciplinary rules or a code of conduct.

The purpose of this paper is to educate both lawyers and mediators as to those general guidelines for the conduct of the mediator and the conduct of the mediation and to explore some of the ethical concerns and dilemmas that can emerge before, during, and after a mediation.

The Integrity of the Mediation Process Begins With the Mediator.

Just yesterday a former president of TTLA expressed the opinion that cases are most likely to settle in mediation when all of the parties and their counsel trust the mediator. "It is hard to get a case settled when the lawyerís number one concern is protecting their private parts from the mediator." Anonymous.

A mediator should protect the integrity of the process. The obligation starts with the first communication to the mediator. The obligation is continuous in nature and it does not terminate upon conclusion of the mediation. Ethical Guidelines for Mediators promulgated by the ADR Section of the State Bar of Texas, 2 (hereinafter referred to as EG).

Impartiality of the Mediator.

The integrity of the mediator begins with the parties having a high level of confidence that the mediator is impartial. Every reference in the Texas ADR Act to mediators is stated in terms of "impartial third party." Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, sec. 154.051, et seq. (Hereinafter referred to as Tex. ADR Act.) The Ethical Guidelines for Mediators promulgated by the ADR Section of the State Bar of Texas begin by defining mediation as "a private process in which an impartial person, a mediator, Ö" EG 1. But what is impartiality?

The Ethical Guidelines speak in terms of the mediatorís "known relationships with the parties or their counsel that may affect or give the appearance of affecting the mediatorís neutrality." EG 4 (emphasis added). Similarly, the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators promulgated by the ABA, AAA, and SPIDR define impartiality in terms of conflicts of interest. "A conflict of interest is a dealing or relationship that might create an impression of possible bias." Model Standards, III. What constitutes a relationship with the parties or their counsel that may affect or give the appearance of affecting the mediatorís neutrality?

There is not an abundance of case law answering the question. But there are other bodies of law or standards of conduct that may be instructive on the question of what would constitute a conflict of interest for a mediator.

One source of instructive material is the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. But more helpful may be the rules governing disqualifications of judges. Why? Because the Texas Commission on Professional Ethics has already opined in this context that a mediator constitutes an "adjudicatory official" under the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct. Tex. Comm. on Professional Ethics, Op. 496. V. 57 Tex. Bar. J. 1135 (1994). Rule 18b of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure set out the grounds for disqualification and recusal of judges. Set out below are principles taken from Rule 18b that a mediator might be able to reference if his or her impartiality were to be questioned.

  1. Has the mediator served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy or has a lawyer with whom the mediator previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter?
  2. Does the mediator have an interest in the subject matter of the controversy?
  3. Are any of the parties to the matter related to the mediator by affinity or consanguinity to the third degree?
  4. Does the mediator have personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the matter to be mediated or does the mediator have a personal bias or prejudice concerning the subject matter of the mediation?
  5. Has the mediator or a lawyer with whom he practiced law been a material witness concerning the subject matter of the mediation?
  6. Has the mediator participated as counsel, an adviser, or a material witness in the matter in controversy or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of it, while acting as an attorney in government service?
  7. Does the mediator know that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding?
  8. Is the mediator, his spouse or any person within a third degree of relationship to either of them or the spouse of such a person:
    1. a party to the proceeding;
    2. known by the mediator to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
    3. known by the mediator to be likely to be a material witness in the proceeding?
  9. Is anyone related to the mediator within the first degree of relationship serving as a lawyer for any of the parties to the proceeding?

What if the mediator determines, after first being contacted about conducting the mediation that he may have a potential conflict? "Prior to commencing the mediation, the mediator should make full disclosure of any known relationships with the parties or their counsel that may affect or give the appearance of affecting the mediatorís neutrality." EG 4. The safest practice for a mediator would be to disclose any relationship that might cause a party or counsel for a party to reasonably question the mediatorís impartiality. In that regard, a mediator should consider disclosing prior representation of one of the parties even if that representation was in an entirely unrelated matter. A mediator might even want to disclose friendships with a party or a lawyer that go beyond business acquaintances and that could be perceived as creating bias in favor of a "friend." 

But, consent of the parties waives any potential conflicts. See Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators promulgated by the ABA, AAA, and SPIDR, III; see also Rule 1.11 of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct. Practice Tip for the Mediator: Disclose the potential conflict in the initial correspondence with the parties and include the disclosure in the Agreement for Mediation to be signed by the parties or their counsel with a statement that the parties have been informed and wish the mediator to conduct the mediation anyway. 

What if the mediator discovers the existence of a potential conflict after the mediation has commenced? The disclosure should be made as soon as practicable to the lawyers and the parties. EG 4, Comment (b). What happens then? If any party objects, he should immediately withdraw. "A mediator should not serve in the matter if a party makes an objection to the mediator based upon a conflict or perceived conflict." EG 4. Practice Tip for the Mediator: ask the parties to sign a disclosure and waiver at the mediation. 

But, the mediator must take the initiative if he or she knows it would be inappropriate to serve as the mediator. "A mediator should withdraw from mediation if it is inappropriate to serve." EG 4, Comment (a). Unfortunately, the Ethical Guidelines give little guidance to the mediator as to what should lead him to conclude that it is inappropriate to serve even if the parties all waive an actual or potential conflict of interest. Certainly if a mediator comes to the conclusion that he cannot treat the parties fairly and equally without bias, he should withdraw. This brings us to the next focal point of consideration. 

Impartial Conduct of the Mediation by the Mediator. 

Not only must the mediation be conducted by an impartial third party, it must also be conducted in an impartial manner. "A mediator should be impartial toward all parties." EG 9. If the mediator discovers that his or her impartiality has been compromised, or the parties make that discovery, the mediator should offer to withdraw. EG 9, Comment. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action, and appearance. EG 9, Comment. The mediator should at all times avoid the appearance of bias or favoritism. 

"How should I negotiate?" Impartiality implies a commitment to aid all parties in reaching a settlement. The Mediator should make a conscious effort not to appear to favor the party in whose room he is conducting a private session. For example, the lawyer or one of the parties may ask a mediator, "What do you suggest as the next move in the negotiation?" In that situation I try to answer by telling them that I can tell them what will help achieve settlement, but that I would do the same if the other party asks. 

Function as My Negotiator. A mediator may also be told by the adjuster in the first private session, "My authority is x [amount of dollars.] You donít need to come back to my room until you have the case settled. See how much you can save me." Or the plaintiffís attorney might say, "Hereís what I need to get on the case, you do what you need to do to get it." In both situations if the mediator agrees to conduct the mediation on that basis, he has now lost his impartiality and has become the hired negotiator for one party or the other. When confronted by that situation the mediator might consider advising the party that he appreciates the confidence that the party has placed in him, but that he would prefer to reach agreement with the party on each responsive offer or demand in order to avoid any possible appearance of bias. 

The Authority Question. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties the mediator should not convene the mediation session unless the corporate parties are represented by officers or agents who have represented to the mediator that they possess adequate authority to negotiate a settlement. Most mediators have been taught to ask in the general session if the persons present have authority to negotiate a settlement. Every time the question is asked, it is answered in the affirmative. Unfortunately, too many mediators have then learned later in the day that the representative was sent to the mediation with no discretionary authority. If during the mediation, new information is provided or it is perceived in a different light that would otherwise lead the representative to change his or her evaluation, settlement often cannot be achieved because the representative cannot offer more than the authority given by the home office. All too often the person with the next layer of authority cannot then be reached. This oft repeated experience has led many experienced plaintiffís lawyers to avoid mediating with certain companies because they feel that the mediation will be entirely one sided, with the defendant pressuring the mediator to "go beat up on the plaintiff in the other room; youíre going to get nowhere in here." Practice tip for the mediator: ask the representative if she has sufficient authority or has immediate access to the person that has discretionary authority and they will listen if you call and ask for more. I have never had a representative say no, even when later it turned out not to be the case, but it makes me feel better about going forward. 

"I have a flight to catch." The mediator is also encouraged by the Ethical Guidelines for Mediators, unless the parties all agree otherwise, to not to convene the mediation unless an adequate amount of time has been reserved by all parties to the mediation to allow the mediation process to be productive. EG 7. Nothing is more irritating to another party who has flown half way across the country to participate in a mediation than to be told by another party or lawyer that he has to leave at mid-afternoon. Parties with experience in mediation know that mediation can be a lengthy process requiring a full business day or more. Anyone who has seriously studied the process knows that more goes on than just trading numbers in the form of offers and demands. The Ethical Guidelines suggest that it could be unethical for the mediator to insist on proceeding when he knows that the time set aside is inadequate. 

A related complaint sometimes voiced during mediation is "Why should this take so long, tell them just to get to their bottom line." Sometimes getting to the bottom line is appropriate, when the mediator in his discretion feels like the parties can do so without jeopardizing a successful outcome. But most parties, particularly the individual plaintiffs, must go through more than one paradigm shift before agreeing to the ultimate settlement amount. In addition, the Ethical Guidelines for Mediators state that the mediator should assist the parties in considering the benefits and risks of trial and the alternatives available to them. EG 10. That sometimes requires a lengthy objective discussion of the evidence that is anticipated to be presented at trial and controlling legal precedents. In addition, the importance of the psychological dynamics of ventilation and providing a party full process satisfaction should not be underestimated. 

Protecting the Integrity of the Mediation Process by Maintaining the Confidentiality of the Process. 

The presumed confidentiality of the mediation process has long been the hallmark of the process. The confidentiality of mediation was expressly provided by the legislature in the Texas ADR Act. "Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the impartial third party may not disclose to either party information given in confidence by the other. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.053 (b). "Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the impartial third party Ö shall at all times maintain confidentiality with respect to communications relating to the subject matter of the dispute." Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.053 (b). 

The Ethical Guidelines follow the statutory mandate. "The mediator should protect the confidentiality of the process. EG 2. When does that duty start? The duty to protect confidentiality commences with the first communication received. EG 2. How long does the duty continue? It continues throughout the process and does not terminate upon the conclusion of the mediation. EG 2. 

A communication relating to the subject matter of any civil or criminal dispute made by a participant in an alternative dispute resolution procedureÖ is confidential, is not subject to disclosure, and may not be used as evidence against the participant in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.073 (a). Any record made at an alternative dispute resolution procedure is confidential, and the mediator may not be required to testify in any proceedings relating to or arising out of the matter in dispute. The mediator is not subject to process requiring disclosure of confidential information or data relating to or arising out of the matter in dispute. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.073 (b) 

But there are exceptions:

  1. An oral communication used in or made a part of an alternative dispute resolution procedures is admissible or discoverable if admissible and discoverable independent of the procedure. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.073 (c).
  2. A final written agreement to which a governmental body is a signatory that is reached as a result of an alternative dispute resolution procedure is subject to or excepted from disclosure in accordance with Chapter 552 of the Government Code. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.073 (d).
  3. The confidentiality privilege is subject to other legal requirements for disclosure, including the duty to report abuse or neglect under the Family Code (subchapter B, Chapter 261) and abuse, exploitation, or neglect under the Human Resources Code (Subchapter C, Chapter 48). Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.073(e). Also note that each of the participants in a mediation is subject to the reporting requirement of the Family Code and Human Resources in connection with abuse, neglect or exploitation. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.053(d).
  4. If the privilege afforded by the ADR Act conflicts with other legal requirements for disclosure, note the procedure set out in subsection (e): the issue of confidentiality may be presented to the court having jurisdiction of the proceedings to determine, in camera, whether the facts or circumstances or materials sought to be disclosed warrant a protective order or whether the communications are subject to disclosure.

Do the confidentiality provisions of the Texas ADR Act prohibit a suit to enforce an alleged verbal agreement to settle a case reached in mediation? In Hur, et al. v. City of Mesquite, et al., 893 S.W.2d 227 (Tex. App. - Amarillo, 1995, no writ), the Amarillo court of appeals said no. In that case the trial court had granted the Cityís special exceptions to the pleadings of the Hurs for failure to state a cause of action. The City based the special exceptions on the confidentiality provisions of the Act. The court of appeals reversed the ruling of the trial court, but did not address the issue of what evidence would be admissible of the actual statements made by the parties in the mediation.

Confidentiality of Mediation Proceedings in Federal Court. In the Federal Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, Congress directed the United States District Courts to enact local rules to provide for the confidentiality of the alternative dispute resolution processes and to prohibit disclosure of confidential dispute resolution communications. 28 USCS sec. 652 (d). The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has implemented the following local rule in furtherance of that Congressional mandate:

"All communications made during ADR procedures are confidential and protected from disclosure and do not constitute a waiver of any existing privileges and immunities." Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Rule 20.I. 

How is a federal court likely to answer the question: What if the only evidence to support setting aside a settlement agreement is evidence of what went on in the mediation? In FDIC v. White, 76 F. Supp. 2d 736 (N.D. Tex., 2000), the court ruled that the parties seeking to set aside a settlement agreement and their attorneys could testify about statements made by the mediator and opposing attorneys at the mediation. The FDIC had sued the Whites for fraudulent transfers and civil conspiracy. In a post-judgment mediation the Whites agreed to a settlement but then later repudiated the settlement claiming duress. The Whites claimed that the FDIC threatened them with criminal prosecution throughout the mediation. Affidavits from the attorney for the plaintiffs and from the plaintiffs were filed detailing statements by the mediator and the attorneys for the FDIC to prove the allegation. FDIC sought to strike the affidavits claiming a "mediator privilege" which it asserted was created in the Federal Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 28 USC Sec. 652, et seq., and under the local rules of the Northern District of Texas. The applicable local rule adopted under the FADRA states: "all communications made during ADR procedures are confidential and protected from disclosure and do not constitute a waiver of any existing privileges and immunities."

The court held that the confidentiality provisions did not prevent the plaintiffs from challenging the validity of the agreement on the basis of duress and denied the motion to strike the affidavits. The court reasoned that application of such a privilege in this context would effectively bar a party from raising well-established common law defenses such as fraud, duress, coercion and mutual mistake challenging the validity of a settlement agreement based on events that transpired at mediation. The court felt it unlikely that Congress intended such a draconian result under the guise of preserving the integrity of the mediation process. 

Confidentiality During the Mediation. "Unless the parties agree otherwise, all matters, including the conduct and demeanor of the parties and their counsel during the settlement process, are confidential and may never be disclosed to anyone, including the appointing court." Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.053(c). Often a mediator is asked questions such as, "How is Ms. Doe reacting to all of this?" or "Who is really in charge in the other room; who is taking the lead?" According to the Act, the mediator should politely decline to answer those questions. 

At the same time, the mediator should be sure that he has an understanding with the parties about what will and will not be disclosed to another party during the mediation about what was said during private session with the opposing party. During the case discussion in the private sessions the mediator will be given information that would help educate the opposing party on the risks and benefits of going to trial versus the known benefit of the proposed settlement agreement. But the parties also sometimes confide in the mediator information about trial tactics or procedural pitfalls awaiting the unwary adversary that a lawyer or party expressly do not want shared with the other parties. Practice Tip for the Mediator. Obtain the agreement of counsel and the parties that if anything is shared with the mediator that a party wishes to remain confidential, that lawyer or party will bring it to the attention of the mediator at the moment it is shared. It is always good to let the parties and their counsel know that the mediator is otherwise looking for ammunition to use in the other room to help the parties appreciate their risk. 

Assisting to Reach Voluntary Settlements. "Mediation is a forum in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between partiesÖ" Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.023 (a). The mediator should encourage disclosure of information. EG 10. Again this is more than a place to convene an exchange of offers and demands. The purpose of mediation ought to be for the parties to make the wisest decision they can about what to do with their lawsuit. In order to make a wise decision, the parties should be given the opportunity to receive all the information they can in order to make an informed and wise decision. As stated in the Act, the mediator facilitates the communication in order to promote reconciliation, settlement, or, understanding among the parties. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.023(a). 

"A mediator may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties." Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.023 (b). While the mediator is charged with the duty to encourage and assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their dispute, she may not compel or coerce the parties to enter into a settlement agreement. Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.053 (a). Parties who insist that a mediator should "get tougher with the opposing party," "beat them into submission," or "make them take the money" should be pointed to this provision of the ADR Act. 

Pro Se Parties. A mediator should not start the mediation if there is reason to believe that a pro se party fails to understand that the mediator is not providing legal services for the pro se party. EG 7, Comment. A mediator should explain generally to a pro se party that there are risks in proceeding without legal counsel. EG 11. Comment (b). 

Professional Advice. Many times a mediator will be asked by a party or even a participating lawyer what the law is on a particular issue. A mediator should not give legal or professional advice to the parties. EG 11. But it is appropriate to encourage the parties to get legal, financial, tax or other professional advice before, during and after the mediation. EG 11. Comment (a). 

Termination of the Mediation Session. A mediator should postpone, recess, or terminate the mediation process if it apparent to the mediator that the case is inappropriate for mediation or one or more of the parties is unwilling or unable to participate meaningfully in the mediation process. EG 13. A number of questions are raised by this guideline. 

What if one of the parties pulls the mediator aside just prior to the commencement of the mediation and confides that the party has no additional authority to make an increased offer? 

What if a party announces to the mediator in private conference that the only way the case will settle is if the plaintiff agrees to a non-suit? 

What if it is 2 a.m. after a long day of mediation and the parties are looking glassy eyed? 

What if, as in one case, a lawyer has been drinking alcoholic beverages in his car during breaks and is inebriated? 

Get the Settlement Reduced to Writing! A mediator should encourage the parties to reduce all settlement agreements to writing. EG 14. "If the parties reach a settlement and execute a written agreement disposing of the dispute, the agreement is enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract." Tex. ADR Act, sec. 154.071. Every time this mediator has allowed parties to leave without a durable agreement in which all possible contingencies have been at least generally addressed, I have been sorry. Parties can and do suffer settlerís remorse following mediation. In the absence of a signed written agreement, it is too easy for the parties to attempt to repudiate a verbal settlement. When that happens the conduct of all involved in the underlying dispute always gets ugly. 

After the Mediation Ė Continuing to Protect the Integrity of the Process. 

Post-Mediation Judicial Service. A mediator generally should not serve as a judge, master, guardian ad litem, or in any other judicial or quasi-judicial capacity in matters that are the subject of the mediation. EG 12. One big problem is that the mediator will have had numerous ex-parte communications with the parties in the mediation, which would be inappropriate for a quasi-judicial functionary. See EG 12, Comment. But, if asked by the parties after an impasse is declared, the mediator may serve as the arbitrator in a binding arbitration proceeding, as long as the mediator believes that nothing learned during private conferences with any of the parties will unfairly influence her while acting as an arbitrator. EG 12. Comment. 

No Personal Gain. A mediator should not use information obtained in the mediation process for personal gain or advantage. EG 2, Comment (a). The interests of the parties should always be placed above the interests of the mediator. 

Undertaking Representation on Behalf of or Adverse to Parties to a Mediation. Absent consent of all of the parties to a proceeding, during the pendency of a mediation a mediator and/or his law firm cannot ethically accept representation for or adverse to a party to the mediation in a matter related or unrelated to the mediation. State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.11. Tex. Comm. on Professional Ethics, Op. 496. V. 57 Tex. Bar. J. 1135 (1994). The Commission found that a mediator constitutes an adjudicatory official and therefore applied the rule that would apply to a judge passing on the merits of a case. Apparently this opinion arose because there were mediators conducting mediations and then signing up clients against a party to the mediation arising out of the same incident. 

The Commission also ruled that post-mediation representation by the mediator or the mediatorís law firm for or adverse to a party to the mediation in a matter related to the mediation would be prohibited unless the exceptions in Rule 1.11 (a) and (c) are operative. Rule 1.11 (a) allows the adjudicatory official to undertake the representation with the consent of all the parties after disclosure. Rule 1.11 (c) allows the mediatorís law firm to undertake the representation if the lawyer who was the adjudicatory official is screened from participation in the matter, is apportioned no part of the fee, and written notice is given to the parties to the proceeding. See also Poly Software International, Inc. v. Su, 880 F. Supp. 1487 (D. Utah 1995) (lawyer disqualified as counsel in case involving parties to similar litigation in which he had participated as a mediator.) 

This opinion does not address the question of whether the mediator or the mediatorís law firm can undertake post-mediation representation on behalf of or adverse to a party to a party to the mediation in an unrelated matter. But, Rule 1.11 (a) specifically speaks only to representing anyone "in connection with a matter in which the lawyer has passed upon the merits or otherwise participated personally and substantially as an adjudicatory official." This opinion does not address the question of whether a lawyer already engaged in litigation against a defendant can accept a mediation assignment involving that defendant where it is the defendant who not only consents to but also requests the service of the lawyer as a mediator in another case. The committee also declined to speculate about the relative rights and obligations of the parties regarding pre-mediation waiver of potential conflicts of interest.

Other Concerns Affecting the Integrity of the Process

Getting the Business. 

Relating to the Judiciary. A mediator should avoid the appearance of impropriety in the mediatorís relationship with a member of the judiciary or the court staff with regard to the appointments or referrals to mediation. EG 15. I know one mediator who refuses to contribute to judges or candidates political campaigns. 

Solicitation and Advertising. A mediator may advertise his or her qualifications and availability to mediate but should not solicit a specific case or matter. EG 2, Comment (d). 

Fees & Costs. 

The mediator should explain all fees and other expenses to be charged. EG 3. A mediator should never accept a contingent fee. EG 3. How can we be impartial and charge a contingent fee based on the amount of the final settlement? "A mediator should avoid the appearance of impropriety in regard to possible negative perceptions regarding the amount of the mediatorís fee in court-ordered mediations." EG 3, Comment (a). 

"If a party and the mediator have a dispute that cannot be resolved before commencement of the mediation as to the mediatorís fee, the mediator should decline to serve so that the parties may obtain another mediator." EG 3, Comment (b)

Qualifications of the Mediator.

A mediator should inform the participants of the mediatorís qualifications and experience. EG 5. I send a resume and a brief brochure describing my experience. 

A mediator should withdraw if he or she does not feel qualified to conduct a mediation. EG 5, Comment.


Mediation is a process that continues to hold great promise for reconciliation of warring parties, resolution of conflict and promotion of greater understanding between different tribes. But the continued efficacy of mediation is dependent on the continued confidence of the public in the integrity of the process. While the responsibility for protecting the integrity of the mediation process is charged first to the mediator, every participant in the process bears some responsibility for maintaining its integrity. 

I leave you with this quote: 

"Character is distilled out of our daily confrontation with temptation, out of our regular response to the call of duty. It is formed as we learn to cherish principles and to submit to self-discipline. Character is the sum total of all the little decisions, the small deeds, the daily reactions to the choices that confront us. Character is not obtained instantly. We have to mold and hammer and forge ourselves into character. It is a distant goal to which there is no shortcut." Sidney Greenberg, from Strength For A Manís Heart (Brownlow 1997). 

May each of us be persons of character, mediators of integrity.


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