I have encountered some confusion among lawyers and mediators over conflict of interest and disclosure requirements applicable to mediators in California. Some say there are no requirements at all. Others say that there are rules requiring disclosure. Turns out, both sides are right. In court ordered mediations conducted by panel mediators, California Rules of Court, Rule 3.855 provides guidelines regarding conflicts of interest and disclosure. The same is true in the U.S. District Court Central District of California (under General Order No. 11-10) governing the referral of cases to the ADR Program with a neutral from the Court’s mediation panel. Those that say there are no such requirements are correct with respect to mediations that are not conducted by panel mediators. However, in light of the recent closing of the LA Superior Court’s mediation program (due to budgetary constraints), it is important to review and understand these rules and when they apply.
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