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VI. Self-Determination

1. Responsibilities of the Participants

The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the participants. The mediator’s obligation is to assist the participants in reaching an informed and voluntary settlement. At no time and in no way should a mediator coerce any participant into agreements or make substantive decisions for any participant. Mediators may make suggestions and may draft proposals for the participants’ consideration, but all decisions are to be made voluntarily by the parties themselves.

2. Responsibility to Non-Participants

A mediator has a responsibility to promote consideration of the interests of persons affected by actual or potential agreements and not present or represented at the bargaining table. Where a mediator believes the interests of an absent participant will be harmed and where the participants themselves refuse the inclusive participation, a mediator is encouraged to withdraw his or her services.

Reporter Note: There is a concern with putting a burden on the mediator to raise the idea of including additional participants. For example, is every divorce mediator now going to have to suggest that minor children should have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed to represent them at the mediation? It is felt that the first and last sentences of the paragraph adequately cover the issue.

Go to: VII. Professional Advice