CODE OF ETHICS and PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct contains the basic principles guiding the professional responsibility of mediators of the Mediator's Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet). It also aims to inform the participants about the nature and objectives of a mediation process. It therefore seeks to promote public confidence in mediation as a viable method of resolving disputes.
Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party assists the participants in arriving at a mutually acceptable solution to their conflict. In mediation, unlike in court proceedings, decisions are made by the participants themselves.
The mediator's role is to assist the parties arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement by facilitating the communication process, presenting viable alternatives, ideas from parties and addressing the participants' positions and interests.
It is therefore imperative that the mediator allow the participants to identify their needs and aspirations and to exercise the principles of fairness, confidentiality, privacy and self-determination while resolving their conflict.
A successful mediation requires the full confidence and participation of the parties. Since it deals with social conflicts facing basic sectors in the environment and agrarian relations, success will elude our mediation activities unless we are viewed as trustworthy, competent and fair. Therefore, our mediators must observe the highest standards of conduct.
ROLE OF MEDIATOR
The primary role of mediator is to facilitate negotiations. To do so, the mediator builds an atmosphere of trust and confidence between parties. The role of the mediator is to clarify demands, issues and positions of the parties through effective communication patterns and to reframe the discussion in order to surface the participants' interests behind their negotiating positions.
The role of the mediator is to provide a reality check , a neutral perspective and to ensure a balanced negotiation. The mediator will ensure that each participant has the chance to be heard and to be treated with dignity and respect.
If necessary, a mediator may refer the participants to an expert for proper advice in order to resolve an issue or to advice them properly to aid in the mediation process.
In sum, a Board of mediator's role is to facilitate a voluntary resolution of a dispute in an impartial manner by:
promoting open and clear communication between the participants
building an atmosphere of trust and confidence between the parties
allowing that the participants be heard and be treated with dignity and respect
encouraging the participants to identify and convey their interests to each other
assisting the participants to assess information presented
informing the participants about their rights and responsibilities or referring the participants to specialized advice, where appropriate
encouraging participants to consider settlement options thoroughly and ensuring that proposed terms of settlement do not impugn the integrity of the process
ensuring potential or actual power imbalances among participants are addressed
In mediation, solutions are mutually agreed upon by the parties, not imposed by the mediator. It is fundamental importance then that parties in a mediation process be able to exercise self-determination. Self-determination is the act of coming to a voluntary decision in which each party makes a free and informed choice as to process and outcome. In this manner, parties are empowered to arrive at a voluntary, free and informed agreement or settlement.
IMPARTIALITY & NEUTRALITY
The mediator shall maintain impartiality and neutrality in the conduct of the mediation process. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism and bias toward any of the participants, either in word or in action.
A mediator shall not allow his or her personal, political or socio-economic bias or opinions to influence the outcome of the mediation.
Impartiality means that the mediator will not play an adversarial role.
A mediator shall avoid all actions that give the impression of partiality toward any of the parties in the mediation process.
If a mediator feels that he or she cannot conduct the mediation process free from bias and partiality, the mediator must withdraw from his role, unless all parties that he remain as mediator.
TRANSPARENCY & CONFLICT OF INTEREST
A mediator shall exercise and ensure transparency in the conduct of the mediation process. A mediator shall disclose fully to the parties any and all information that he feels is necessary to assure the parties of his neutrality, fairness and good faith in handling the process.
A mediator shall disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest as soon as they become aware of it and will withdraw unless the participants consents to the mediator continuing.
A mediator shall not act in a manner which would raise legitimate questions about the integrity of the mediator or the mediation process.
CONFIDENTIALITY & EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION
A mediator shall foster the confidentiality of the process. The mediator shall inform the parties at the initial meeting that all information discussed during mediation, including information obtained during caucuses, shall remain unless all parties agree to their disclosure.
The mediator shall maintain confidentiality in the storage and disposal of records.
A mediator should encourage the disclosure of information and should assist the parties in considering the benefits, risks and alternatives available to them.
A mediator shall refrain from providing legal or professional advice to the parties regarding matters discussed or point to be resolved during the mediation. If necessary, the mediator shall refer the matter to an impartial expert who is acceptable to both parties in the conflict.
QUALITY OF THE PROCESS
A mediator shall conduct a mediation process that promotes the principles of transparency, fairness, impartiality, party participation and mutual respect among the participants.
At the start of the process, mediator shall ensure that the participants are fully informed about the purpose of mediation, the nature of the process and the alternatives to mediation.
A mediator shall demonstrate a high level of professionalism in a manner that will withstand public scrutiny and adhere to the principles provided in his Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
A mediator shall terminate mediation if:
a participant requests that the process be terminated
a participant is using the process inappropriately or not in good faith
in the mediator's opinion the mediation is counter-productive or it is unlikely to settle after best efforts have been made
proposals for settlement undermine the participants' or the public's trust in the process of mediation
a settlement is unlikely to take place within a reasonable amount of time
A mediator shall exercise good judgment in arriving at a decision to terminate the mediation process.
A mediator should encourage all parties to reduce their agreements into writing.
Full Agreement - The mediators shall discuss with the participants the process for formalizing, if necessary, and implementing the agreement.
Partial Agreement - The mediators shall discuss with the participants the procedures available to them to resolve any remaining issues.
In both instances, the mediator may assist the parties in the process of writing down and formalizing the settlement. This written instrument shall be discussed by the parties and shall be subject to their approval.
Termination by Participant - The mediator shall inform the participants of their right to withdraw from mediation at any time.
Termination by Mediator - If the mediator believes that the participants are unable or unwilling to participate meaningfully in the process or that a reasonable agreement is unlikely , the mediator may suspend or terminate the mediation.
TRAINING & EDUCATION
A mediator shall maintain competence in mediation skills by staying informed of latest developments in the practice mediation and by engaging in educational activities promoting professional growth and proficiency in mediation skills.
A mediator is committed to and assumes responsibility for providing a level of service to participants that is of high professional standards.
A mediator shall endeavor to improve his professional skills and abilities through lifelong learning, self-evaluation, critical analysis, adherence to established standards and accepted principles and practice of his mediation skills.
PRIVILEGE TO MEDIATE
Qualification to mediate confers no permanent right to the individual. Violation of this Code or the procedural guidelines for mediation may result in disqualification to mediate.