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Can a Mediator Advise a Party to Seek Independent Counsel at the Conclusion of a Mediation?

Rule 10.370(b) states that “when a mediator believes a party does not understand or

appreciate how an agreement may adversely affect legal rights or obligations, the mediator shall advise the party of the right to seek independent counsel.”

A mediator may not refer a party to a specific lawyer or not-for-profit advocacy group when contacted by the party after a mediation.

Such a referral would be inconsistent with the mediator’sduty to maintain impartiality throughout the mediation process.

There is no rule which prohibits a mediator from speaking to a party after a mediation;

however, the mediator must continue to provide information in a manner “consistent with standards of impartiality.”

The mediator’s continuing duty to remain impartial is confirmed by rule I0.620, Integrity and Impartiality, “A mediator shall not accept any engagement, provide any service, or perform any act that would compromise the mediator’s integrity or impartiality.”

 Opinion Date Issued: September 8, 2017

 Number: 2017-001 MEAC, Florida Supreme Court

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