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MARICOPA COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY MEDIATORS

HomeStandards of Practice

ACR Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation

The Standards incorporate much of the best of the previous standards, and update them to include topics such as domestic violence and child abuse. In addition, the Standards address the issue of the best interests of the children and how mediation can help parents to address them in divorce.

The Symposium, which developed the Standards, included representatives from Academy of Family Mediators (AFM), Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), American Bar Association (ABA) Family Section, and other national, state and regional organizations. The Standards represented a consensus of the best suggestions made over a period of two years in which the Symposium met to develop them.

The Standards had previously been adopted by the ABA Family Section and by AFCC, as well as several state mediation organizations. The adoption of these standards by ACR rounds out the trio of major national organizations whose members are family and divorce mediators.

General Standards | Overview and Definitions |Standard IStandard II | Standard III | Standard IVStandard V | Standard VI | Standard VII | Standard VIII | Standard IX | Standard X | Standard XI | Standard XII | Standard XIII | Appendix  

    

The General Standards

STANDARD I: A family mediator shall recognize that mediation is based on the principle of self-determination by the participants.

STANDARD II: A family mediator shall be qualified by education and training to undertake the mediation.

STANDARD III: A family mediator shall facilitate the participants' understanding of what mediation is and assess their capacity to mediate before the participants reach an agreement to mediate.

STANDARD IV: A family mediator shall conduct the mediation process in an impartial manner. A family mediator shall disclose all actual and potential grounds of bias and conflicts of interest reasonably known to the mediator. The participants shall be free to retain the mediator by an informed, written waiver of the conflict of interest. However, if a bias or conflict of interest clearly impairs a mediator's impartiality, the mediator shall withdraw regardless of the express agreement of the participants.
conflict of interest clearly impairs a mediator's impartiality, the mediator shall withdraw regardless of the express agreement of the participants.

STANDARD V: A family mediator shall fully disclose and explain the basis of any compensation, fees and charges to the participants.

STANDARD VI: A family mediator shall structure the mediation process so that the participants make decisions based on sufficient information and knowledge.

STANDARD VII: A family mediator shall maintain the confidentiality of all information acquired in the mediation process, unless the mediator is permitted or required to reveal the information by law or agreement of the participants.

STANDARD VIII: A family mediator shall assist participants in determining how to promote the best interests of children.

STANDARD IX: A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving child abuse or neglect and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.

STANDARD X: A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving domestic abuse and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.

STANDARD XI: A family mediator shall suspend or terminate the mediation process when the mediator reasonably believes that a participant is unable to effectively participate or for other compelling reason.

STANDARD XII: A family mediator shall be truthful in the advertisement and solicitation for mediation.

STANDARD XIII: A family mediator shall acquire and maintain professional competence in mediation.

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Overview and Definitions

Family and divorce mediation ("family mediation" or "mediation") is a process in which a mediator, an impartial third party, facilitates the resolution of family disputes by promoting the participants' voluntary agreement. The family mediator assists communication, encourages understanding and focuses the participants on their individual and common interests. The family mediator works with the participants to explore options, make decisions and reach their own agreements.

Family mediation is not a substitute for the need for family members to obtain independent legal advice or counseling or therapy. Nor is it appropriate for all families. However, experience has established that family mediation is a valuable option for many families because it can:
Increase the self-determination of participants and their ability to communicate;
 Promote the best interests of children; and
 Reduce the economic and emotional costs associated with the resolution of family disputes.

Effective mediation requires that the family mediator be qualified by training, experience and temperament; that the mediator be impartial; that the participants reach their decisions voluntarily; that their decisions be based on sufficient factual data; that the mediator be aware of the impact of culture and diversity; and that

best interests of children be taken into account. Further, the mediator should also be prepared to identify families whose history includes domestic abuse or child abuse.

These Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation ("Model Standards") aim to perform three major functions:
   1. to serve as a guide for the conduct of family mediators;
   2. to inform the mediating participants of what they can expect; and
   3. to promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving family disputes.

The Model Standards are aspirational in character. They describe good practices for family mediators. They are not intended to create legal rules or standards of liability.

The Model Standards include different levels of guidance:
. Use of the term "may" in a Standard is the lowest strength of guidance and indicates a practice that the family mediator should consider adopting but which can be deviated from in the exercise of good professional judgment.
. Most of the Standards employ the term "should" which indicates that the practice described in the Standard is highly desirable and should be departed from only with very strong reason.
. The rarer use of the term "shall" in a Standard is a higher level of guidance to the family mediator, indicating that the mediator should not have discretion to depart from the practice described.

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Standard I

A family mediator shall recognize that mediation is based on the principle of self-determination by the participants.

A. Self-determination is the fundamental principle of family mediation. The mediation process relies upon the ability of participants to make their own voluntary and informed decisions.
B. The primary role of a family mediator is to assist the participants to gain a better understanding of their own needs and interests and the needs and interests of others and to facilitate agreement among the participants.
C. A family mediator should inform the participants that they may seek information and advice from a variety of sources during the mediation process.
D. A family mediator shall inform the participants that they may withdraw from family mediation at any time and are not required to reach an agreement in mediation.
E. The family mediator's commitment shall be to the participants and the process. Pressure from outside of the mediation process shall never influence the mediator to coerce participants to settle.

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Standard II

A family mediator shall be qualified by education and training to undertake the mediation.

A. To perform the family mediator's role, a mediator should:
   1. have knowledge of family law;
   2. have knowledge of and training in the impact of family conflict on parents, children and other participants, including knowledge of child development, domestic abuse and child abuse and neglect;
   3. have education and training specific to the process of mediation;
   4. be able to recognize the impact of culture and diversity.
B. Family mediators should provide information to the participants about the mediator's relevant training, education and expertise.

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Standard III

A family mediator shall facilitate the participants' understanding of what mediation is and assess their capacity to mediate before the participants reach an agreement to mediate.
 
A. Before family mediation begins a mediator should provide the participants with an overview of the process and its purposes, including:
   1. informing the participants that reaching an agreement in family mediation is consensual in nature, that a mediator is an impartial facilitator, and that a mediator may not impose or force any settlement on the parties;
   2. distinguishing family mediation from other processes designed to address family issues and disputes;
   3. informing the participants that any agreements reached will be reviewed by the court when court approval is required;
   4. informing the participants that they may obtain independent advice from attorneys, counsel, advocates, accountants, therapists or other professionals during the mediation process;
   5. advising the participants, in appropriate cases, that they can seek the advice of religious figures, elders or other significant persons in their community whose opinions they value;
   6. discussing, if applicable, the issue of separate sessions with the participants, a description of the circumstances in which the mediator may meet alone with any of the participants, or with any third party and the conditions of confidentiality concerning these separate sessions;
   7. informing the participants that the presence or absence of other persons at a mediation, including attorneys, counselors or advocates, depends on the agreement of the participants and the mediator, unless a statute or regulation otherwise requires or the mediator believes that the presence of another person is required or may be beneficial because of a history or threat of violence or other serious coercive activity by a participant.
   8. describing the obligations of the mediator to maintain the confidentiality of the mediation process and its results as well as any exceptions to confidentiality;
   9. advising the participants of the circumstances under which the mediator may suspend or terminate the mediation process and that a participant has a right to suspend or terminate mediation at any time.
B. The participants should sign a written agreement to mediate their dispute and the terms and conditions thereof within a reasonable time after first consulting the family mediator.
C. The family mediator should be alert to the capacity and willingness of the participants to mediate before proceeding with the mediation and throughout the process. A mediator should not agree to conduct the mediation if the mediator reasonably believes one or more of the participants is unable or unwilling to participate.
D. Family mediators should not accept a dispute for mediation if they cannot satisfy the expectations of the
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Standard IV

A family mediator shall conduct the mediation process in an impartial manner. A family mediator shall disclose all actual and potential grounds of bias and conflicts of interest reasonably known to the mediator. The participants shall be free to retain the mediator by an informed, written waiver of the conflict of interest. However, if a bias or conflict of interest clearly impairs a mediator's impartiality, the mediator shall withdraw regardless of the express agreement of the participants.
 
A. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action or appearance, and includes a commitment to assist all participants as opposed to any one individual.
B. Conflict of interest means any relationship between the mediator, any participant or the subject matter of the dispute, that compromises or appears to compromise the mediator's impartiality.
C. A family mediator should not accept a dispute for mediation if the family mediator cannot be impartial.
D. A family mediator should identify and disclose potential grounds of bias or conflict of interest upon which a mediator's impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Such disclosure should be made prior to the start of a mediation and in time to allow the participants to select an alternate mediator.
E. A family mediator should resolve all doubts in favor of disclosure. All disclosures should be made as soon as practical after the mediator becomes aware of the bias or potential conflict of interest. The duty to disclose is a continuing duty.
F. A family mediator should guard against bias or partiality based on the participants' personal characteristics, background or performance at the mediation.
G. A family mediator should avoid conflicts of interest in recommending the services of other professionals.
H. A family mediator shall not use information about participants obtained in a mediation for personal gain or advantage.
I. A family mediator should withdraw pursuant to Standard IX if the mediator believes the mediator's impartiality has been compromised or a conflict of interest has been identified and has not been waived by the participants.
 

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Standard V

A family mediator shall fully disclose and explain the basis of any compensation, fees and charges to the participants.

A. The participants should be provided with sufficient information about fees at the outset of mediation to determine if they wish to retain the services of the mediator.
B. The participants' written agreement to mediate their dispute should include a description of their fee arrangement with the mediator.
C. A mediator should not enter into a fee agreement that is contingent upon the results of the mediation or the amount of the settlement.
D. A mediator should not accept a fee for referral of a matter to another mediator or to any other person.
E. Upon termination of mediation a mediator should return any unearned fee to the participants.

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Standard VI

A family mediator shall structure the mediation process so that the participants make decisions based on sufficient information and knowledge.

A. The mediator should facilitate full and accurate disclosure and the acquisition and development of information during mediation so that the participants can make informed decisions. This may be accomplished by encouraging participants to consult appropriate experts.
B. Consistent with standards of impartiality and preserving participant self-determination, a mediator may provide the participants with information that the mediator is qualified by training or experience to provide. The mediator shall not provide therapy or legal advice.
C. The mediator should recommend that the participants obtain independent legal representation before concluding an agreement.
D. If the participants so desire, the mediator should allow attorneys, counsel or advocates for the participants to be present at the mediation sessions.
E. With the agreement of the participants, the mediator may document the participants' resolution of their dispute. The mediator should inform the participants that any agreement should be reviewed by an independent attorney before it is signed.

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Standard VII

A family mediator shall maintain the confidentiality of all information acquired in the mediation process, unless the mediator is permitted or required to reveal the information by law or agreement of the participants.

A. The mediator should discuss the participants' expectations of confidentiality with them prior to undertaking the mediation. The written agreement to mediate should include provisions concerning confidentiality.
B. Prior to undertaking the mediation the mediator should inform the participants of the limitations of confidentiality such as statutory, judicially or ethically mandated reporting.
C. As permitted by law, the mediator shall disclose a participant's threat of suicide or violence against any person to the threatened person and the appropriate authorities if the mediator believes such threat is likely to be acted upon.
D. If the mediator holds private sessions with a participant, the obligations of confidentiality concerning those sessions should be discussed and agreed upon prior to the sessions.
 E. If subpoenaed or otherwise noticed to testify or to produce documents the mediator should inform the participants immediately. The mediator should not testify or provide documents in response to a subpoena without an order of the court if the mediator reasonably believes doing so would violate an obligation of confidentiality to the participants.

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Standard VIII

A family mediator shall assist participants in determining how to promote the best interests of children.

A. The mediator should encourage the participants to explore the range of options available for separation or post divorce parenting arrangements and their respective costs and benefits. Referral to a specialist in child development may be appropriate for these purposes. The topics for discussion may include, among others:
   1. information about community resources and programs that can help the participants and their children cope with the consequences of family reorganization and family violence;
   2. problems that continuing conflict creates for children's development and what steps might be taken to ameliorate the effects of conflict on the children;
   3. development of a parenting plan that covers the children's physical residence and decision-making responsibilities for the children, with appropriate levels of detail as agreed to by the participants;
   4. the possible need to revise parenting plans as the developmental needs of the children evolve over time; and
   5. encouragement to the participants to develop appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms to facilitate future revisions of the parenting plan.
B. The mediator should be sensitive to the impact of culture and religion on parenting philosophy and other decisions.
C. The mediator shall inform any court-appointed representative for the children of the mediation. If a representative for the children participates, the mediator should, at the outset, discuss the effect of that participation on the mediation process and the confidentiality of the mediation with the participants. Whether the representative of the children participates or not, the mediator shall provide the representative with the resulting agreements insofar as they relate to the children.
D. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the children should not participate in the mediation process without the consent of both parents and the children's court-appointed representative.
E. Prior to including the children in the mediation process, the mediator should consult with the parents and the children's court-appointed representative about whether the children should participate in the mediation process and the form of that participation.
F. The mediator should inform all concerned about the available options for the children's participation (which may include personal participation, an interview with a mental health professional, the mediator interviewing the child and reporting to the parents, or a videotaped statement by the child) and discuss the costs and benefits of each with the participants.
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Standard IX

A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving child abuse or neglect and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.

A. As used in these Standards, child abuse or neglect is defined by applicable state law.
B. A mediator shall not undertake a mediation in which the family situation has been assessed to involve child abuse or neglect without appropriate and adequate training.
C. If the mediator has reasonable grounds to believe that a child of the participants is abused or neglected within the meaning of the jurisdiction's child abuse and neglect laws, the mediator shall comply with applicable child protection laws.
   1. The mediator should encourage the participants to explore appropriate services for the family.
   2. The mediator should consider the appropriateness of suspending or terminating the mediation process in light of the allegations.

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Standard X

A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving domestic abuse and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.
 
A. As used in these Standards, domestic abuse includes domestic violence as defined by applicable state law and issues of control and intimidation.
B. A mediator shall not undertake a mediation in which the family situation has been assessed to involve domestic abuse without appropriate and adequate training.
C. Some cases are not suitable for mediation because of safety, control or intimidation issues. A mediator should make a reasonable effort to screen for the existence of domestic abuse prior to entering into an agreement to mediate. The mediator should continue to assess for domestic abuse throughout the mediation process.
D. If domestic abuse appears to be present the mediator shall consider taking measures to insure the safety of participants and the mediator including, among others:
   1. establishing appropriate security arrangements;
   2. holding separate sessions with the participants even without the agreement of all participants;
   3. allowing a friend, representative, advocate, counsel or attorney to attend the mediation sessions;
   4. encouraging the participants to be represented by an attorney, counsel or an advocate throughout the mediation process;
   5. referring the participants to appropriate community resources;
   6. suspending or terminating the mediation sessions, with appropriate steps to protect the safety of the participants.
E. The mediator should facilitate the participants' formulation of parenting plans that protect the physical safety and psychological well-being of themselves and their children.

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Standard XI

 

A family mediator shall suspend or terminate the mediation process when the mediator reasonably believes that a participant is unable to effectively participate or for other compelling reason.

 

A. Circumstances under which a mediator should consider suspending or terminating the mediation, may include, among others:
     1. the safety of a participant or well-being of a child is threatened;
     2. a participant has or is threatening to abduct a child;
     3. a participant is unable to participate due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or physical or mental condition;
     4. the participants are about to enter into an agreement that the mediator reasonably believes to be unconscionable;
     5. a participant is using the mediation to further illegal conduct;
     6. a participant is using the mediation process to gain an unfair advantage;
     7. if the mediator believes the mediator's impartiality has been compromised in accordance with Standard IV.
B. If the mediator does suspend or terminate the mediation, the mediator should take all reasonable steps to minimize prejudice or inconvenience to the participants which may result.

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Standard XII

A family mediator shall be truthful in the advertisement and solicitation for mediation.
A. Mediators should refrain from promises and guarantees of results. A mediator should not advertise statistical settlement data or settlement rates.
B. Mediators should accurately represent their qualifications. In an advertisement or other communication, a mediator may make reference to meeting state, national or private organizational qualifications only if the entity referred to has a procedure for qualifying mediators and the mediator has been duly granted the requisite status.

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Standard XIII

A family mediator shall acquire and maintain professional competence in mediation.
A. Mediators should continuously improve their professional skills and abilities by, among other activities, participating in relevant continuing education programs and should regularly engage in self-assessment.
B. Mediators should participate in programs of peer consultation and should help train and mentor the work of less experienced mediators.
C. Mediators should continuously strive to understand the impact of culture and diversity on the mediator's practice.

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Appendix

 

Special Policy Considerations for State Regulation of Family Mediators and Court Affiliated Programs
The Model Standards recognize the National Standards for Court Connected Dispute Resolution Programs (1992). There are also state and local regulations governing such programs and family mediators. The following principles of organization and practice, however, are especially important for regulation of mediators and court-connected family mediation programs. They are worthy of separate mention.

A. Individual states or local courts should set standards and qualifications for family mediators including procedures for evaluations and handling grievances against mediators. In developing these standards and qualifications, regulators should consult with appropriate professional groups, including professional associations of family mediators.
B. When family mediators are appointed by a court or other institution, the appointing agency should make reasonable efforts to insure that each mediator is qualified for the appointment. If a list of family mediators qualified for court appointment exists, the requirements for being included on the list should be made public and available to all interested persons.
C. Confidentiality should not be construed to limit or prohibit the effective monitoring, research or evaluation of mediation programs by responsible individuals or academic institutions provided that no identifying information about any person involved in the mediation is disclosed without their prior written consent. Under appropriate circumstances, researchers may be permitted to obtain access to statistical data and, with the permission of the participants, to individual case files, observations of live mediations, and interviews with participants.

Only the Model Standards, not the Commentary, were approved by the American Bar Association in February 2001.

STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
ALL OTHER CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFESSIONALS

Ethical Standards of Professional Responsibility
By: SPIDR Ethics Committee
Date: June 2, 1986

*These standards were adopted by SPIDR in June of 1986. The Standards are currently being reviewed by the ACR Standards Committee for the Association for Conflict Resolution.

The Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) was established in 1972 to promote the peaceful resolution of disputes. Members of the Society believe that Resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and other neutral interventions can be of great benefit to disputing parties and to society. In 1983, the SPIDR Board of Directors charged the SPIDR Ethics Committee with the task of developing ethical standards of professional responsibility. The Committee membership represented all the various sectors and disciplines within SPIDR. This document, adopted by the Board on June 2, 1986, is the result of that charge.
The purpose of this document is to promote among SPIDR Members and Associates ethical conduct and a high level of competency, including honesty, integrity, impartiality and the exercise of good judgment in their dispute resolution efforts. It is hoped that this document also will help to (1) define the profession of dispute resolution, (2) educate the public, and (3) inform users of dispute resolution services.

Application of Standards

Adherence to these ethical standards by SPIDR Members and Associates is basic to professional responsibility. SPIDR Members and Associates commit themselves to be guided in their professional conduct by these standards. The SPIDR Board of Directors or its designee is available to advise Members and Associates about the interpretation of these standards. Other neutral practitioners and organizations are welcome to follow these standards.

Scope

It is recognized that SPIDR Members and Associates resolve disputes in various sectors within the disciplines of dispute resolution and have their own codes of professional conduct. These standards have been developed as general guidelines of practice for neutral disciplines represented in the SPIDR membership. Ethical considerations relevant to some, but not to all, of these disciplines are not covered by these standards.

General Responsibilities

Neutrals have a duty to the parties, to the professions, and to themselves. They should be honest and unbiased, act in good faith, be diligent, and not seek to advance their own interests at the expense of their parties'.
Neutrals must act fairly in dealing with the parties, have no personal interest in the terms of the settlement, show no bias towards individuals and institutions involved in the dispute, be reasonably available as requested by the parties, and be certain that the parties are informed of the process in which they are involved.

Responsibilities to the Parties

1. Impartiality. The neutral must maintain impartiality toward all parties. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias either by word or by action, and a commitment to serve all parties as opposed to a single party.
2. Informed Consent. The neutral has an obligation to assure that all parties understand the nature of the process, the procedures, the particular role of the neutral, and the parties' relationship to the neutral.
3. Confidentiality. Maintaining confidentiality is critical to the dispute resolution process. Confidentiality encourages candor, a full exploration of the issues, and a neutral's acceptability. There may be some types of cases, however, in which confidentiality is not protected. In such cases, the neutral must advise the parties, when appropriate in the dispute resolution process, that the confidentiality of the proceedings cannot necessarily be maintained. Except in such instances, the neutral must resist all attempts to cause him or her to reveal any information outside the process. A commitment by the neutral to hold information in confidence within the process also must be honored.
4. Conflict of Interest. The neutral must refrain from entering or continuing in any dispute if he or she believes or perceives that participation as a neutral would be a clear conflict of interest and any circumstances that may reasonably raise a question as to the neutral's impartiality. The duty to disclose is a continuing obligation throughout the process.
5. Promptness. The neutral shall exert every reasonable effort to expedite the process.
6. The Settlement and its Consequences. The dispute resolution process belongs to the parties. The neutral has no vested interested in the terms of a settlement, but must be satisfied that agreements in which he or she has participated will not impugn the integrity of the process. The neutral has a responsibility to see that the parties consider the terms of a settlement. If the neutral is concerned about the possible consequences of a proposed agreement, and the needs of the parties dictate, the neutral must inform the parties of that concern. In adhering to this standard, the neutral may find it advisable to educate the parties, to refer one or more parties for specialized advice, or to withdraw from the case. In no case, however, shall the neutral violate section 3, Confidentiality, of these standards.

Neutral Interests

The neutral must consider circumstances where interests are not represented in the process. The neutral has an obligation, where in his or her judgment the needs of parties dictate to assure that such interests have been considered by the principal parties.

Use of Multiple Procedures

The use of more than one dispute resolution procedure by the same neutral involves additional responsibilities. Where the use of more than one procedure is initially contemplated, the neutral must take care at the outset to advise the parties of the nature of the procedures and the consequences of revealing information during any one procedure which the neutral may later use for decision making or share with another decision maker. Where the use of more than one procedure is contemplated after the initiation of the dispute resolution process, the neutral must explain the consequences and afford the parties an opportunity to select another neutral for the subsequent procedures. It is also incumbent upon the neutral to advise the parties of the transition from one dispute resolution process to another.


Background and Qualifications
A neutral should accept responsibility only in cases where the neutral has sufficient knowledge regarding the appropriate process and subject matter to be effective. A neutral has a responsibility to maintain and improve his or her professional skills.

Disclosure of Fees

It is the duty of the neutral to explain to the parties at the outset of the process the basis of compensation, fees, and charges, if any.

Support of the Profession

The experienced neutral should participate in the development of new practitioners in the field and engage in efforts to educate the public about the value and use of neutral dispute resolution procedures. The neutral should provide pro bono services, where appropriate.
Responsibilities of Neutrals Working on the Same Case

In the event that more than one neutral is involved in the resolution of a dispute, each has an obligation to inform the others regarding his or her entry in the case. Neutrals working with the same parties should maintain an open and professional relationship with each other.

Advertising and Solicitation
A neutral must be aware that some forms of advertising and solicitations are inappropriate and in some conflict resolution disciplines, such as labor arbitration, are impermissible. All advertising must honestly represent the services to be rendered. No claims of specific results or promises, which imply favor of one side over another for the purpose of obtaining business should be made. No commissions, rebates, or other similar forms of remuneration should be given or received by a neutral for the referral of clients.

Please browse the following resources for more information on this field: http://www.peacemakers.ca/bibliography

About ACR's Quality Assurance Initiatives
ACR's focus on Quality Assurance Initiatives fulfills some of the commitments that its predecessor organizations made when they voted for merger in 2000. By taking a firm stand on difficult issues, ACR seeks to improve the quality of dispute resolution practice, increase respect for the ADR field and meet the professional needs and aspirations of its members.

ACR's Quality Assurance Initiatives

ACR's focus on Quality Assurance Initiatives fulfills some of the commitments that its predecessor organizations made when they voted for merger in 2000. By taking a firm stand on difficult issues, ACR seeks to improve the quality of dispute resolution practice, increase respect for the ADR field and meet the professional needs and aspirations of its members. In that capacity, ACR's Quality Assurance Initiatives will have a significant impact on the further development of the conflict resolution field.
Therefore, in an effort to shape the future of conflict resolution practice in ways that enhance its value, ACR is currently working on four quality assurance initiatives:
• Certification Task Force.  The ACR Board has concluded that the field has developed to the point where there is need for entry-level certification that documents and acknowledges that a mediator has completed a minimum level of training and experience. Whatever its precise contours, ACR certification will require more training and experience than traditional 40-hour minimum training programs.

• Joint Committee on Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. If the public is to continue to have confidence in mediation, it is important that practitioners and disputants have a clear understanding of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate mediator conduct. For that reason, ACR, the AAA and the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution have convened the Joint Committee on Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators to review, revise and update the standards of conduct established by the three organizations in 1994. Former SPIDR president Sharon Press and former CREnet president Terry Wheeler are ACR's representatives to the Committee.

• Ethics Committee. ACR's Ethics Committee is closely related to the Model Standards of Conduct, for one cannot aspire to follow the standards of conduct without first embracing the core ethics that underlie the practice of alternative dispute resolution. The Board has now established operating procedures for the Ethics Committee, which is the capstone of the Ethics Initiative. While the Ethics Committee does serve in a disciplinary capacity— reviewing and addressing ethics complaints brought against ACR members—its primary function is to educate members and the public about the values held by ADR practitioners and by ACR.

• Advanced Practitioner Workgroup Report. ACR's Advanced Practitioner Workgroup has developed the basic framework for conflict resolution practice areas, with the anticipation that individual ACR Sections will then be able to refine the requirements in ways that make the most sense for their practice area.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS:
Paula Trout
ACR ETHICS POINT PERSONS:
Each individual Section is required by ACR policy to have an Ethics point person.
Commercial - Will Miller (adrwill@comcast.net)
Consumer - Natalie Fleury (nfleur2001@yahoo.com)
Crisis Negotiation - Jerry Bagnell (jbagnell@ix.netcom.com)
Education - Ken Dunham (kdunham@faulkner.edu)
Environment and Public Policy - Janice Fleischer (janice@flashresolutions.com)
Family - Clarence Cramer (Clarence.Cramer@co.pinal.az.us)
Health Care - Robert J. Robson (rrobson@mediatecalm.ca)
International - Trip Barthel (trip9@ix.netcom.com)
Organizational Conflict Management - Ann L. Begler (ABegler@aol.com)
Research - Nancy A. Welsh (nxw10@psu.edu)
Restorative and Criminal Justice - Cheryl Swanson (cswanson@uwf.edu)
Spirituality - John Willis (jwillis@sullivan.edu)
Training - Pam Perry (ptperry@attg.net)
Workplace - Lenard Shapiro (lshapadr@aol.com)

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