Mediator standards of conduct: A commentary to the revised National Mediator Accreditation System Practice Standards
Date of this Version
This article concerns the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) Practice Standards which were extensively revised in 2015. According to the Chair of the Mediator Standards Board, the standards now "specify clearly the minimum practice and competency requirements" for NMAS accredited mediators. The study undertaken in this article, in which the revised Practice Standards are compared with those that they replace, suggests otherwise. Numerous gaps (for example, as to the mediator's duty of confidentiality) and uncertainties (for example, as to the meaning of "impartiality") in the revised standards are identified. The author concludes that the revised standards provide little guidance to mediators faced with a choice between contradictory courses of action and conflicting values. The usefulness of the standards as a tool to educate mediators (and to instil in them a sense of the values of mediation), participants and potential participants has been compromised by the recent revisions. The article offers possible solutions for overcoming shortcomings in the standards.
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