Omer Shapira (Ono Academic College) has published “A Critical Assessment of the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (2005): Call for Reform” in the Marquette Law Review, available here. The abstract:

The Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (2005), which were developed and adopted by leading organizations in the field of mediation, were designed to serve as fundamental ethical guidelines for persons mediating in all practice contexts, inform mediating parties, and promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving disputes.

The Model Standards have proved to be an influential ethical source for mediators, mediation scholars, and legislatures. They have inspired many codes of conduct for mediators in the United States and abroad and influenced their content. Many commentators and mediators treat them as an authoritative statement on the ethical conduct expected of mediators.

Over the years, commentators have raised concerns about some aspects of the Model Standards, for example, their failure to adequately guide mediators in situations of competing values, and the vagueness of their substantive provisions. No work to date has exposed the Model Standards to a systematic and comprehensive assessment, which is necessary for an evaluation of their adequacy as a coherent statement of the fundamental ethical guidelines for mediators, and for the development of a viable alternative to them. Ten years after the adoption of the revised Model Standards in 2005, the Article comes to fill this gap in the literature and open the discussion on the next version of the Model Standards.

The Article argues that the Model Standards are in need of reform, points to key issues that should be addressed in reforming them, and calls for a renewed debate over the shape, content, and vision of the Model Standards.

Jennifer Reynolds is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon Law and the Faculty Director of the ADR Center. Teaching civil procedure, conflicts of law, negotiation, and mediation, her research interests include dispute systems design, problem-solving in multiparty scenarios, judicial attitudes toward ADR, and cultural influences and implications of alternative processes. She is also a contributor to ADR Prof Blog.