Our obligation to you
Neutrality means freedom from favouritism or bias either in word or action, or the omission of word or action, that might give the appearance of such favouritism or bias. As family dispute resolution practitioners (mediators) we will disclose actual and potential grounds of bias and conflicts of interest. As participants you shall be free to retain us as the mediator by an informed waiver of the conflict of interest. However, if in the view of the mediator, a bias or conflict of interest impairs their impartiality, we as mediators reserve our right to withdraw regardless of any agreement (express or implied) of the participants.
We as mediators will identify and disclose any potential grounds of bias or conflict of interest that emerge at any time in the mediation process. Clearly, disclosures are best made before the start of the process and in time to allow the participants to select an alternative mediator. We will take reasonable steps to minimise the chances of being in a position of potential bias or conflict of interest before the process commences.
We will take all reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest, or potential grounds for bias or the perception of a conflict of interest, in recommending the services of other professionals. Where possible, we will provide you with several alternative referrals to other practitioners and services.
We will never use information about participants obtained in mediation for personal gain or advantage.
All mediators and FDRPs have completed specialised training that assists them to identify power imbalance and issues relating to control and intimidation and take appropriate steps to manage the mediation process accordingly.
We will always conduct the dispute resolution process in an impartial manner and adhere to ethical standards of practice.
We note that the perception by one or both of the participants that a mediator is partial does not in itself require the mediator to withdraw. In such circumstances, however, we may remind all parties of a right to terminate the mediation process given its voluntary nature.
We will not become involved in relationships with parties that may impair the practitioner’s professional judgment or in any way increase the risk of exploiting clients. Except where culturally required, practitioners will not facilitate disputes involving close friends, relatives, colleagues/supervisors or students.
We will adhere to, and be familiar with, the code of conduct or ethical standards prescribed by the organisation or association with which we have a membership.
This policy applies if, in relation to a person who is a party to a dispute that is the subject of family dispute resolution, or any other party to that dispute, a family dispute resolution practitioner:
a. has acted previously in a professional capacity (otherwise than as a family dispute resolution practitioner, a family counsellor or an arbitrator); or
b. has had a previous commercial dealing; or
c. is a personal acquaintance.
A family dispute resolution practitioner may provide family dispute resolution services to a party mentioned in the paragraph above only if:
a. each party to the family dispute resolution agrees; and
b. the previous professional dealing (if any) does not relate to any issue in the dispute; and
c. the previous commercial dealing or acquaintance (if any) is not of a kind that could reasonably be expected to influence the family dispute resolution practitioner in the provision of his or her family dispute resolution services.
The above policy is consistent with regulatory provisions governing the FDR process and its practitioners.