RESPONSIBILITY

In providing services, the EDR/MP facilitators maintain the highest standards of their profession. They accept responsibility for the consequences of their acts and make every effort to ensure that their services are used appropriately.

Responsibility to the Disputing Parties

  • The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests on the parties themselves. The facilitator should recognize at all times that the agreements reached in negotiations are voluntarily made by the parties. It is the facilitator’s responsibility to assist the disputants in engaging in a productive discussion and possibly, in reaching a resolution or an agreement. At no time should a facilitator unduly influence a party into agreement. The facilitator should not attempt to make any decision for the parties. Parties may however, agree to solicit a recommendation from the facilitator. These recommendations should be in the form of options which the disputants can consider in coming out with final solutions to their issue.

  • It is desirable that agreement be reached by negotiations without a mediator’s assistance. Intervention by a mediator can be initiated by the parties themselves or by a mediator. The decision to accept mediation rests with the parties, except when mediation is mandated by legislation, administrative issuances, court order, or contract.

  • Mediators or facilitators will inform parties of the cost, if any, of the mediation or facilitation services before intervention. Parties should be able to estimate the cost of the service in relation to that of other dispute resolution procedures. The association will provide for the mediators/facilitators with the standard scale of fees.

  • Ideally, when costs are involved, the mediator or facilitator should attempt to have parties agree to bear the costs of mediation or facilitation equitably. When this is not possible, especially when there is a public institution providing support for the process, all parties should reach agreement as to payment.

Responsibility to the Process

  • Negotiation is an established procedure in our society as a means of resolving disputes. The process of mediation involves a third -party intervention into negotiations to assist in the development of alternative solutions and/or that parties will voluntarily accept as a basis for agreement. Pressures that jeopardize voluntary action and agreement by the parties should not be a part of mediation.

  • Mediation is a participatory process. A mediator is obliged to educate the parties and to involve them in the mediation process. A mediator should consider that such education and involvement are important, not only to resolve a current dispute but also to prepare the parties to handle future conflicts in a more creative and productive manner.

  • Mediation is not a panacea for all types of conflicts. Mediators should be aware of other various procedures for dispute resolution and the conditions under which is more effective. Mediators are obliged to educate participants concerning their procedural options and to help them choose wisely the most appropriate procedures. The procedures should clearly match the type of outcome that is desired by the parties.

Mediator’s Role

  • The mediator must not limit his/her role to keeping the peace or regulating conflict at the negotiation table. The mediator’s role should be that of an active resource person whom the parties may draw on and, when appropriate, the mediator should be prepared to provide both procedural and substantive suggestions and alternative options that will assist the parties in successful negotiations. It should be clear, however, that other resource persons, if deemed necessary by the disputants, can be invited to assist them in knowing and understanding information and documents, such as related laws and regulations. Since the status, experience, and ability of the mediator lends weight to his/her suggestions and recommendations, the mediator should evaluate carefully the effect of interventions or proposals and accept full responsibility for their honesty and merit.

  • Since mediation is a voluntary process, the acceptability of the mediator to the parties as person of integrity, objectivity, and fairness is absolutely essential for the effective performance of mediation procedures. The manner in which the mediator carries out professional duties and responsibilities will be a measure of his/her usefulness as a mediator. The quality of character as well as intellectual, emotional, social and technical attributes will reveal themselves in the conduct of the mediator and his/her oral and written communications with the parties, other mediators, and the public.

  • Mediation is a creative process. Thus, mediators should encourage both parties to use processes that will best suit the nuances and uniqueness of the conflicts.

Responsibility to the Public and Other Unrepresented Parties

The mediation process includes a responsibility of the mediator to assert the interest of the public or other unrepresented parties in order for a particular dispute to be resolved or managed, that costs or damages be alleviated that further conflicts be prevented, and that values for harmonious relationships be preserved. Mediators ensure that agreements entered into are inclusive of the interest of the public or other unrepresented parties whose interests and needs should be, but are not, being considered. Mediators should question whether other interests of the parties, or the parties themselves, should be present at negotiations. It is understood, however, that the mediator does not regulate or control any of the content of a negotiated agreement.

COMPETENCE

  • The maintenance of high standards of competence is a responsibility shared by all EDR/MP facilitators in the interest of the public and the profession as a whole. EDR/MP facilitators recognize the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their techniques. They only provide services and only use techniques for which they are qualified by training and experience. In those areas, in which recognized standards does not yet exist, EDR/MP facilitators take necessary precautions to protect the welfare of their parties.

  • The Association shall only recognize mediators or facilitators of dispute resolution processes who have been proven – through procedures set by the Association – to satisfy the following basic criteria of a competent mediator (aside from their adherence to the principles set by this Standard: (1) Has proficient knowledge of systematic processes and techniques in mediation, conciliation or facilitation of dispute resolution processes; and (2) with at least one experience in facilitating dispute resolution/management processes.

  • Mediators should not attempt to mediate in an unfamiliar field or when there is risk of psychological, financial, and legal of physical damage to one of the parties due to the mediator’s lack of experience. If the situation demands his/her immediate assistance s/he is obligated to seek a co-mediator trained in the necessary discipline. If this is not possible, s/he should refer cases to other mediators who are trained in the required field of expertise.

  • EDR/MP facilitators have the responsibility to regularly upgrade their skills and theoretical grounding. They shall endeavor to better themselves and the profession by seeking further education in negotiation and mediation during each year of practice.

  • A mediator should promote the profession and make contributions to the field by encouraging and participating in research, publishing or other forms of professional and public education.

MORAL & LEGAL STANDARDS

  • The moral and ethical standards of behavior of EDR/MP facilitators are a personal matter to the same degree as they are for any other citizen, except as these may compromise the fulfillment of their professional responsibilities or reduce the public trust in EDR/MP and its facilitators. Regarding their own behavior, EDR/MP facilitators are sensitive to prevailing community standards and culture, and to the possible impact that conformity to or deviation from standards may have upon the quality of their performance as EDR/MP facilitators. They are also aware of the possible impact of their public behavior upon the ability of colleagues to perform their professional duties.

  • EDR/MP facilitators should endeavor to be knowledgeable of the laws and regulations related to the dispute. Mediation should not be used to violate the rights of parties. Except when the laws are directly in conflict with the traditional or customary laws of even one of the disputing parties, an EDR/MP facilitator should ensure that the outcomes of mediation are consistent with the provisions and mandates of laws and other legal regulations of the society. When laws, regulations and practices are in conflict with the standards and guidelines of the Association of EDR/MP facilitators, the facilitators make known their commitment to the Association standards and guidelines and, whenever possible, work toward the resolution of the conflict. An EDR/MP facilitator should ensure that outcomes of mediation are consistent with provisions and mandates of laws, legal regulations, and traditional and customary laws.

TRANSPARENCY

Before acceptance of any obligation to deliver the professional service of EDR/MP facilitation, the member must clearly disclose any bias or preferential advocacy that may interfere in the objectivity of the process

IMPARTIALITY

  • The EDR/MP facilitator is under obligation during the performance of professional services to maintain a posture of impartiality toward all involved parties. Impartiality is freedom from bias or favoritism either in work or action. Impartiality implies a commitment to aid all parties, as opposed to a single party, in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. Impartiality means that a mediator will not play an adversarial role in the process of dispute resolution.

  • The network should ensure that any member who has personal interests on the resolution of an issue, as a party or partner and a stakeholder of the issue must or shall not mediate such issue.

CONFIDENTIALITY

  • Information received by a mediator in confidence, private session, caucus or joint session with disputants, is confidential and should not be revealed to parties outside of the negotiations. Information received in caucus is not to be revealed in joint session without receiving prior permission from the party or person from whom the information was received.

  • The following exceptions should be implied to the confidentiality rule: In case a mediator discovers that an act has been committed or a probable crime will be committed that may result in drastic psychological or physical harm to another person, the mediator is morally obligated to report these actions to the appropriate agencies.

PUBLIC STATEMENT & USE OF INFORMATION

  • A mediator should not make any false, misleading, or unfair statement or claim as to the EDR/MP, its costs and benefits, or his/her role, skills or qualifications. Because information revealed in mediation is confidential and the success of the process may depend on this confidentiality, mediators should inform and gain consent from participants that information divulged in the process of mediation will not be used by the parties in any future adversarial proceedings. Documentation of procedure as required by the process does not make the information public and therefore, may not be disclosed in violation of this principle of confidentiality.

  • The mediator is also obliged to resist disclosure of confidential information in an adversarial process. S/he will refuse to testify voluntarily in any subsequent court proceedings and shall resist to the best of his/her ability the subpoena of either his/her notes or person. This provision may be waived by the consent of all parties involved.

EMPOWERMENT & PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING OF DISPUTANTS

  • In the event that a party needs either additional information or assistance in order for the negotiation to proceed in a fair and orderly manner, or for an agreement to be reached that is fair, equitable, and has the capacity to hold over time, the mediator is obligated to refer the party to resources- either data or persons – who may facilitate the process.

  • If a mediator discovers before or during mediation that a party needs psychological help, the mediator shall make appropriate referrals. Mediators recognize that mediation is not an appropriate procedure. Mediation shall not be conducted with parties who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other substance abuse or who have major psychological disorders that seriously impair their judgment.

SERVICE OF MEDIATORS

  • Service of mediators has value. In recognition of this, party will be asked to pay for the services of a mediator or mediators at the value/standard set by the association.

  • An EDR/MP facilitator is under humane obligation to perform voluntarily service during each year to promote the field and provide assistance to those who cannot fully afford to pay for mediation. The fees will be received from the disputants in payment of the services of the mediator shall be given to the network and be made part of its operational funds.

PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

  • A mediator should respect his/her co-mediators and other mediators, whether they are members or not of the network. As a way of showing this respect, a mediator should not unnecessarily intervene in any case that is already being meditated. If his/her intervention is deemed to be necessary, s/he should not enter such dispute without first conferring with the person(s) conducting such mediation. The mediator should not intercede merely because another mediator may also be participating. Conversely, it should not be assumed that the lack of mediation participation by one mediator indicates a need for participation by another mediator.

  • In those situations in which more than one mediator is participating in a particular case, it is necessary to clear with one another the specific role of each one. Each mediator has the responsibility to keep his/her co-mediators informed of developments essential to a cooperative effort and should extend every possible courtesy to co-mediators.

  • During mediation, any mediator should carefully avoid any appearance of disagreement with, or criticism of co-mediators. Productive criticisms among/between mediators should be kept in private and are treated as confidential matter. Discussions as to what positions and actions mediators should take in particular cases should not violate principles of confidentiality.

THE AGREEMENT

  • One of the goals of negotiation and mediation is an agreement that is seen as fair and equitable by all parties. The mediator’s responsibility to the parties is to help them reach mutually acceptable and satisfying agreement.

  • A written statement that documents the agreements reached in mediation could be developed upon request of the parties. Other forms to celebrate the agreement should be encouraged in accordance with the cultural practices of the parties involved.

  • A mediator’s satisfaction with the agreement is secondary to that of the parties. In the event that a mediator sees that a proposed agreement (1) is contrary to law, public policy and public moral, (2) is grossly inequitable to one or more parties, (3) is the result of false information, (4) is the result of bargaining in bad faith, (5) impossible to enforce, or (6) may not look like it will hold over time, the mediator may pursue any of the following alternatives:

  • Inform the parties of the difficulties that the mediator sees in the agreement

  • Inform the parties of the difficulties and make suggestions that would remedy the problem

  • Withdraw as mediator, but disclose in writing to both parties the reasons for such action (bargaining in bad faith, unreasonable settlement, illegality and so forth).

  • In the event that the parties cannot reach an agreement even with the assistance of a mediator, it is the responsibility of the mediator to make the parties aware of the deadlock and suggest that negotiations be terminated. A mediator is obligated to inform the parties when a final impasse has occurred and to refer them to other means of dispute resolution. A mediator should not prolong unproductive discussions that result in increased time and emotional and monetary costs for the parties.