Mission: The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance has been established to provide advisory responses to requests for ethical guidance based on the American Bar Association/American Arbitration Association/Association for Conflict Resolution Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (2005).
Scope: The current scope of the Committee is limited to the consideration of ethical issues pertaining to mediation. The Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance may accept an inquiry from 1) an ABA member, 2) an individual who is not an ABA member or 3) an organization. The Committee may also consider an issue on its own initiative. The Committee will apply the ABA/AAA/ACR Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators to the inquiry. The Committee may draw on other sources of authority, such as opinions or other guidance issued by state ethics authorities, but its focus will be on interpreting the Model Standards and applying them to the issue presented. From time to time, the Committee may consult with the ABA-Center for Professional Responsibility and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, as appropriate.
Filing Procedures: All requests shall be sent to the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution at 740 15th Street NW, Washington D.C. 2005, attention "Mediator Ethical Guidance." The request shall include a letter summarizing the issue and a completed Mediator Ethical Guidance Intake Form. Once received, the request will be logged and a confirmation letter will be sent indicating it has been received.
The Chairs, in conjunction with Section Staff, will determine if the request will be accepted for consideration. If the inquiry falls within the scope of the Committee and is otherwise accepted, it will be forwarded to the Committee for consideration.
Confidentiality: All inquiries forwarded to the Committee will include the name and contact information of the requestor and any others involved in or identified in the request. This information shall be kept in confidence, to the extent possible, by members of the Committee and Section staff. However, the final opinion will not include the name and contact information of the requestor, or any other individual or entity identified in the request. All deliberations of the Committee shall remain confidential.
Conflicts of Interest: A member of the Committee will be recused if s/he has direct personal involvement in the request or direct, current or anticipated, personal or financial interest in the outcome of the request or direct, current or anticipated, personal or financial relationship with the requesting party.
Timeline: Generally, all requests will be considered and acted on within 60 days of the assignment to members of the Committee. In the event more time is needed, the requestor will be notified.
Issuing Advisory Opinions: An advisory opinion will be issued if two-thirds of the members participating in the deliberations approve the opinion; in no circumstances will an opinion be issued if less than six members participate in the deliberations. The opinion will not include the names of members (including committee chairs) participating in the deliberations and will not identify the names of the members who approved or dissented from the advisory opinion.
The Committee will make every effort to reach a consensus view with respect to all advisory opinions. When, after a full examination of the issue and an exchange of views, the Committee can not reach consensus, a member may place a statement of dissent in the opinion file or request that the statement of dissent be published along with the advisory opinion.
Publication: All opinions will be posted on the Section's web page. The requestor will also be mailed a copy of the advisory opinion.
Precedent: Opinions issued by the Committee are not intended to have the force of law and are not intended to be binding on any party. It should be noted that the Model Standards of Conduct state "These Standards, unless and until adopted by a court or other regulatory authority do not have the force of law. Nonetheless, the fact that these Standard have been adopted by the respective sponsoring entities, should alert mediators to the fact that the Standards might be viewed as establishing a standard of care for mediators" (MSC, Note on Construction, 2005).
 There may be circumstances beyond the control or purview of the Committee which may require the disclosure of this information