Standards of Practice
The mediation process enables parties to have an open and respectful discussion to resolve their dispute with the help of a neutral and impartial third party: a mediator.
Mediators are dispute resolution professionals who use their knowledge, experience and skills to help parties resolve disputes. At the FPSLREB Secretariat, mediators are committed to fulfilling their mission to serve their clients in a fair, courteous, and respectful manner, in accordance with the fundamental principles1 outlined below.
- The parties decide for themselves when and under what conditions they will reach an agreement, free of coercion.
- The parties have the necessary authority and are capable of making an informed decision to reach a voluntary agreement; the mediator may recommend that parties consult with professionals to ensure informed decision making.
- The parties’ self-determination applies throughout the mediation process, which means that the parties are free to withdraw from the process at any time.
- Mediators must manage an impartial mediation process by conducting themselves in an unbiased manner.
- Mediators suspend their judgment and demonstrate no favouritism.
- If a mediator is not able to remain impartial and fair throughout the process, they must withdraw from the process.
3. Conflict of interest
- Mediators are responsible for identifying and disclosing all actual and potential conflicts of interest.
- A conflict of interest is a situation in which a mediator has or may have conflicting professional or personal interests, making it difficult for the mediator to carry out their tasks impartially.
- Even though there may be no evidence of actual prejudicial conduct, a conflict of interest can create an appearance of bias that can undermine one or both of the parties’ confidence that the mediator can be effective in the mediation process.
- If the parties agree to participate in the mediation after being informed of an actual or perceived conflict of interest, the mediator may proceed with the mediation.
- If the conflict of interest casts serious doubt on the integrity of the process, or if the mediator feels that he or she is unable to proceed impartially, then the mediator must withdraw from the process.
- Mediators shall ensure that all information obtained during mediation remains confidential, unless:
- the parties provide permission and instructions about its disclosure;
- its disclosure is required by law; or,
- there is a real or potential threat to a person’s safety or life if the information is not disclosed.
- Confidentiality applies to all information received during individual meetings.
- At the end of the mediation process, mediators should discuss with the parties the disclosure terms for information that was shared during the mediation process, if appropriate.
5. Quality of Process
- Mediators are required to lead the mediation process professionally and diligently, in accordance with all of the fundamental guiding principles outlined above.
- Correspondence with clients about mediation must be accurate.
- Mediators assigned to cases must have the necessary training, experience, and skills.
- Mediators must encourage mutual respect between the parties and provide them with adequate opportunities to participate in the discussions as each party sees fit.
- Mediators are required to improve their mediation practice as well as their professional skills and abilities.
- Mediators should raise awareness about mediation, enhancing its accessibility.
1 These principles are inspired by the standards of practice of the American Bar Association; the Association for Conflict Resolution; le Barreau du Québec; the ADR Institute of Canada; and l’Institut de médiation et d’arbitrage du Québec.