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Florida MEAC Approves Med-Arb Concept for Florida Certified Mediators

Florida MEAC Approves Med-Arb Concept for Florida Certified Mediators

The Florida Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee issued its Opinion 2015-003, with Dissent, on February 4, 2016.  In this Opinion the Committee recognizes that there is no prohibition against a mediator serving as arbitrator in the original dispute, so long as the parties agree, with full and complete disclosure of the change of roles, the effect on previously confidential communications during the mediation process, and a knowing waiver by the parties of any conflicts arising as a result of the mediator’s changed role to arbitrator.

The Opinion cites to the Committee Note to Rule 10.310, Florida Rules for Certified & Court-Appointed Mediators, which expressly contemplates that a mediator may be requested by the parties to be a decision-maker in some circumstances.  The majority recognizes that the primary goal of self-determination is best realized by permitting the parties to control their own processes.