Two models of mediation ethics
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Mediation is increasingly regarded as a nascent profession. This raises some important questions about how the mediation profession should be structured and governed. This article distinguishes two models of professional ethics and considers their appropriateness for mediation. The first model, which I call the ‘regulatory model’, gives a central role to professional associations in formulating, applying and enforcing ethical codes of conduct. This model has been adopted by the legal profession in Australia and elsewhere. The second model, which I call the ‘practice model’, views a profession as a community of practice where ethical standards emerge and change organically over time. These standards may be codified, but are mainly enforced through social pressure.
I develop the practice model through reference to the concepts of practice and tradition in the work of Alasdair MacIntyre. I then explore the implications of the two models by considering how they might respond to ethical breaches by practitioners suffering from mental illness, before considering their suitability for the mediation community. I contend that the practice model has important advantages over the regulatory model as a framework for mediation ethics.
This document has been peer reviewed.