Florida-Supreme-Court-Seal-300The Florida Supreme Court’s Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) has been issuing formal advisory ethics opinions to certified and court-appointed mediators since 1994. MEAC opinions deal with mediation-related ethics questions governed primarily by Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

This is my summary of the significant MEAC opinions for 2015. Each summary is hyper-linked to a copy of the original source document.

2015-001

Certified mediators do not have the authority to ban use of laptop devices or tablets during mediation. Decisions regarding the reason for and the use of these devices are decisions for the parties to make unless there is a court order to the contrary.

2015-002

Unless there is a local court rule, court order or administrative order requiring a mediator to identify the parties or participants who appeared for mediation, the mediator may, but is not required to do so.

2015-003

The Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators do not contain a prohibition against a mediator serving as an arbitrator in a case the mediator previously mediated. The mediator must ensure the parties have a complete understanding of how the mediator’s role will change and they must waive the conflict of interest and confidentiality of the mediation.

2015-005

The verbal discussion in the scenario presented satisfies the requirements of rule 10.420(c), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. The rule does not require the mediator to write something regarding the terms of the agreement prior to the close of the mediation session if the parties have agreed who will memorialize the agreement and the process for its formalization. The Committee Note to rule 10.420