In an effort to encourage public input and participation in discussions concerning the UMA and its impact on mediators, lawyers, and others, the MassUMA Working Group has turned to digital technology and the internet, launching the MassUMA Blog.
One of the Working Group’s subcommittees, which has been meeting to explore the definition of mediator and mediator training, has just posted its findings regarding the current Massachusetts mediation confidentiality statute and the UMA, and is asking for public comment on its recommendations regarding how the UMA, if adopted in Massachusetts, should define “mediator”.
How “mediator” is defined is a matter of great consequence to the question of privilege and confidentiality of mediation communications. Under current Massachusetts law, M.G.L. ch. 233, § 23C, a mediator is defined as “a person not a party to a dispute who enters into a written agreement with the parties to assist them in resolving their disputes and has completed at least thirty hours of training in mediation and who either has four years of professional experience as a mediator or is accountable to a dispute resolution organization which has been in existence for at least three years or one who has been appointed to mediate by a judicial or governmental body”. The UMA on the other hand defines a mediator as “an individual who conducts a mediation”.