Our certified mediators have a practice area in:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Employment Law
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • General Business Disputes

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Ethical Guidelines For Mediators

In April of 1994 the ADR Section of the State Bar of Texas adopted these Ethical Guidelines for Mediators.

Note: If you have a complaint about a mediator, go to TMCA's website at www.txmca.org for information about the grievance procedure.


These Ethical Guidelines are intended to promote public confidence in the mediation process and to be a general guide for mediator conduct. They are not intended to be disciplinary rules or a code of conduct. Mediators should be responsible to the parties, the courts and the public, and should conduct themselves accordingly. These Ethical Guidelines are intended to apply to mediators conducting mediations in connection with all civil, criminal, administrative and appellate matters whether the mediation is pre-suit or court-annexed and whether the mediation is court-ordered or voluntary.


1. Mediation Defined

Mediation is a private process in which an impartial person, a mediator, encourages and facilitates communications between parties to a conflict and strives to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding. A mediator should not render a decision on the issues in dispute. The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the parties.


A mediator's obligation is to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary settlement. The mediator should not coerce a party in any way. A mediator may make suggestions, but all settlement decisions are to be made voluntarily by the parties themselves.

2. Mediator Conduct

A mediator should protect the integrity and confidentiality of the mediation process. The duty to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the mediation process commences with the first communication to the mediator, is continuous in nature, and does not terminate upon the conclusion of the mediation.

Comment (a)

A mediator should not use information obtained during the mediation for personal gain or advantage.

Comment (b)

The interests of the parties should always be placed above the personal interest of the mediator.

Comment (c)

A mediator should not accept mediations which cannot be completed in a timely manner or as directed by a court.

Comment (d)

Although a mediator may advertise the mediator's qualifications and availability to mediate, the mediator should not solicit a specific case or matter.

Comment (e)

A mediator should not mediate a dispute when the mediator has knowledge that another mediator has been appointed or selected without first consulting with the other mediator or the parties unless the previous mediation has been concluded.

3. Mediation Costs

As early as practical, and before the mediation session begins, a mediator should explain all fees and other expenses to be charged for the mediation. A mediator should not charge a contingent fee or a fee based upon the outcome of the mediation. In appropriate cases, a mediator should perform mediation services at a reduced fee or without compensation.

Comment (a)

A mediator should avoid the appearance of impropriety in regard to possible negative perceptions regarding the amount of the mediator's fee in court-ordered mediations.

Comment (b)

If a party and the mediator have a dispute that cannot be resolved before commencement of the mediation as to the mediator's fee, the mediator should decline to serve so that the parties may obtain another mediator.

4. Disclosure of Possible Conflicts

Prior to commencing the mediation, the mediator should make full disclosure of any known relationships with the parties or their counsel that may affect or give the appearance of affecting the mediator's neutrality. A mediator should not serve in the matter if a party makes an objection to the mediator based upon a conflict or perceived conflict.

Comment (a)

A mediator should withdraw from a mediation if it is inappropriate to serve.

Comment (b)

If after commencement of the mediation, the mediator discovers that such a relationship exists, the mediator should make full disclosure as soon as practicable.

5. Mediator Qualifications

A mediator should inform the participants of the mediator's qualifications and experience.


A mediator's qualifications and experience constitute the foundation upon which the mediation process depends; therefore, if there is any objection to the mediator's qualifications to mediate the dispute, the mediator should withdraw from the mediation. Likewise, the mediator should decline to serve if the mediator feels unqualified to do so.

6. The Mediation Process

A mediator should inform and discuss with the participants the rules and procedures pertaining to the mediation process.

Comment (a)

A mediator should inform the parties about the mediation process no later than the opening session.

Comment (b)

At a minimum, the mediator should inform the parties of the following: (1) the mediation is private (Unless otherwise agreed by the participants, only the mediator, the parties and their representatives are allowed to attend.); (2) the mediation is informal (There are no court reporters present, no record is made of the proceeding, no subpoena or other service of process is allowed, and no rulings are made on the issues or the merits of the case.); and (3) the mediation is confidential to the extent provided by law. (See e.g., Sec.154.053 and 154.073, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code.)

7. Convening the Mediation

Unless the parties agree otherwise, the mediator should not convene a mediation session unless all parties and their representatives ordered by the court have appeared, corporate parties are represented by officers or agents who have represented to the mediator that they possess adequate authority to negotiate a settlement, and an adequate amount of time has been reserved by all parties to the mediation to allow the mediation process to be productive.


A mediator should not convene the mediation if the mediator has reason to believe that a Pro Se party fails to understand that the mediator is not providing legal representation for the pro Se party. In connection with Pro Se parties, see also Guidelines #9, 11, and 13 and associated comments below.

8. Confidentiality

A mediator should not reveal information made available in the mediation process, which information is privileged and confidential, unless the affected parties agree otherwise or as may be required by law.

Comment (a)

A mediator should not permit recordings or transcripts to be made of mediation proceedings.

Comment (b)

A mediator should maintain confidentiality in the storage and disposal of records and should render anonymous all identifying information when materials are used for research, educational or other informational purposes.

Comment (c)

Unless authorized by the disclosing party, a mediator should not disclose to the other parties information given in confidence by the disclosing party and should maintain confidentiality with respect to communications relating to the subject matter of the dispute. The mediator should report to the court whether or not the mediation occurred, and that the mediation either resulted in a settlement or an impasse, or that the mediation was either recessed or rescheduled.

Comment (d)

In certain instances, applicable law may require disclosure of information revealed in the mediation process. For example, the Texas Family Code may require a mediator to disclose child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. If confidential information is disclosed, the mediator should advise the parties that disclosure is required and will be made.

9. Impartiality

A mediator should be impartial toward all parties.


If a mediator or the parties find that the mediator's impartiality has been compromised, the mediator should offer to withdraw from the mediation process. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action and appearance; it implies a commitment to aid all parties in reaching a settlement.

10. Disclosure and Exchange of Information

A mediator should encourage the disclosure of information and should assist the parties in considering the benefits, risks, and the alternatives available to them.

11. Professional Advice

A mediator should not give legal or other professional advice to the parties.

Comment (a)

In appropriate circumstances, a mediator should encourage the parties to seek legal, financial, tax or other professional advice before, during or after the mediation process.

Comment (b)

A mediator should explain generally to pro Se parties that there may be risks in proceeding without independent counsel or other professional advisors.

12. No Judicial Action Taken

A person serving as a mediator generally should not subsequently serve as a judge, master, guardian-ad-litem, or in any other judicial or quasi-judicial capacity in the matters that are the subject of the mediation.


It is generally inappropriate for a mediator to serve in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity in a matter in which the mediator has had communications with one or more parties without all other parties present. For example, an attorney-mediator who has served as a mediator in pending litigation should not subsequently serve in the same case as a special master, guardian-ad-litem, or in any other judicial or quasi-judicial capacity with binding decision-making authority. Notwithstanding the foregoing where an impasse has been declared at the conclusion of a mediation, the mediator, if requested and agreed to by all parties, may serve as the arbitrator in a binding arbitration of the dispute, or as a third-party neutral in any other alternative dispute proceeding, so long as the mediator believes nothing learned during private conferences with any party to the mediation will bias the mediator or will unfairly influence the mediator's decisions while acting in his/her subsequent capacity.

13. Termination of Mediation Session

A mediator should postpone, recess, or terminate the mediation process if it is apparent to the mediator that the case is inappropriate for mediation or one or more of the parties is unwilling or unable to participate meaningfully in the mediation process.

14. Agreements in Writing

A mediator should encourage the parties to reduce all settlement agreements to writing.

15. Mediator's Relationship with the Judiciary

A mediator should avoid the appearance of impropriety in the mediator's relationship with a member of the judiciary or the court staff with regard to appointments or referrals to mediation. Association of Mediators, Inc.

Rules For Mediation

Definition of Mediation. Mediation is a process during which an impartial, neutral person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties in a dispute to assist reconciliation, settlement or understanding among them. The Mediator may suggest ways of resolving the dispute, but may not impose his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.

1.) Agreement of the Parties. The parties involved in the mediation of the dispute agree to these Rules by their signatures. (Parties will be asked to sign prior to the mediation session.)

2.) Consent to the Mediator. The parties consent to the appointment of the individual named as Mediator in their case. The Mediator may not, and will not, act as an advocate for any party to the mediation.

3.) Conditions Precedent to Serving as Mediator. The Mediator shall not serve as Mediator in any dispute in which he or she has any financial or personal interest in the result of mediation. Prior to accepting an appointment, the Mediator shall disclose any circumstances likely to create a presumption of bias or prevent a prompt meeting with the parties. In the event that the parties disagree as to whether the Mediator shall serve, the Mediator shall not serve.

4.) Authority of the Mediator. The Mediator does not have the authority to decide any issue for the parties, but will attempt to facilitate voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties. The Mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to assist the parties to achieve settlement. If necessary, the Mediator may also obtain expert advice concerning technical aspects of the dispute, provided that the parties agree and assume the expense of obtaining such advice. Arrangements for obtaining such advice shall be made by the Mediator or the parties, as the Mediator shall determine.

5.) Commitment to Participate in Good Faith. While no one is asked to commit to settle his/her case in advance of mediation, all parties commit to participate in the proceedings in good faith with the intention to settle, if at all possible.

6.) Parties Responsible for Negotiating Their Own Settlement. The parties understand that the Mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement in their case and agree that they are responsible for negotiating a settlement acceptable to them. The Mediator, as an advocate for settlement, will use every effort to facilitate the negotiations of the parties. The Mediator does not warrant or represent that settlement will result from the mediation process.

7.) Authority of Representatives. Each party representative agrees that he or she has authority to settle the dispute involved in the mediation and that all persons necessary to the decision to settle shall be present at the mediation. The names and addresses of such persons shall be communicated in writing to all parties and the Mediator.

8.) Time and Place of Mediation. The Mediator shall coordinate or fix the time of each mediation session. The mediation shall be held at the office of the Mediator or at any other convenient location agreeable to the Mediator and the parties, as the Mediator shall determine.

9.) Identification of Matters in Dispute. Prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall use his or her best efforts to provide the Mediator and all attorneys of record with an Information Sheet and Request for Mediation on the form provided by the Mediator, setting forth its position with regard to the issues that need to be resolved.

At or before the first session, the parties will be expected to produce all information reasonably required for the Mediator to understand the issues presented. The Mediator may require any party to supplement such information.

10.) Privacy. Mediation sessions are private. The parties and their representatives may attend mediation sessions. Other persons may attend only with the permission of the parties and with the consent of the Mediator.

11.) Confidentiality. Confidential information disclosed to a Mediator by the parties or by witnesses in the course of the mediation shall not be divulged by the Mediator. All records, reports or other documents received by a Mediator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential. The Mediator shall not be compelled to produce or divulge such records or to testify in regard to the mediation in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. Any party that violates this agreement shall pay all fees and expenses of the Mediator and other parties, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred in opposing the efforts to request or compel testimony or records from the Mediator.

The parties shall maintain confidentiality of the mediation and shall not rely on, or introduce as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding: a) views expressed or suggestions made by another party with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute; b) admissions made by another party in the course of the mediation proceedings; c) proposals made or views expressed by the Mediator; or d) the fact that another party had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement made by the Mediator.

12.) No Stenographic, Audio, Video Tape or Other Electronic Recording. There shall be no stenographic, tape recording, video recording or other electronic recording of any portion of the mediation session.

13.) No Service of Process at or Near the Site of the Mediation Session. No subpoenas, summons, complaints, citations, writs or other process may be served upon any person at or near the site of any mediation session or upon any person entering, attending or leaving the session.

14.) Termination of Mediation. The mediation shall be concluded: a) by the execution of a settlement agreement by the parties; b) by declaration of the Mediator to the effect that further efforts at mediation are no longer worthwhile; or c) by a written or verbal declaration of a party or parties to the effect that the mediation proceedings are terminated.

15.) Exclusion of Mediator. The Mediator is not a necessary or proper party in judicial proceedings relating to mediation.

16.) Interpretation and Application of Rules. The Mediator shall interpret and apply these rules.

17.) Fees and Expenses. The Mediator’s fee, if agreed upon prior to mediation, shall be paid in advance of each mediation day. If applicable, the expenses of witnesses for either side shall be paid by the party producing such witnesses. All other expenses of the mediation, including fees and expenses of the Mediator, and the expenses of any witness and the cost of any proofs or expert advice produced at the direct request of the Mediator, shall be borne equally by the parties unless they agree otherwise.

18.) Party to Rely on Own Counsel. If the mediation is concluded by a settlement agreement, the parties are advised to have the agreement independently reviewed by their own attorneys and counsel before executing the agreement in final form. The parties understand and agree that the Mediator is not acting as an advocate for any party and each party states they have not relied upon legal advice or counsel from the Mediator in entering into the settlement agreement.

19.) Weapons and Firearms Ban. The possession of weapons and firearms is prohibited on the premises of the location where mediations and related meetings are conducted.

© 2018 Allen May. All Rights Reserved.

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