The role of a mediator in mediation services is to act as a neutral third party between two or more parties to a dispute. The mediator does not decide the outcome, but rather helps the parties to understand and focus on the important issues needed to reach a resolution. The mediator initiates the meeting, then discusses the problem in question and helps the parties to find possible solutions. It is important for the mediator to be impartial and neutral, and they do not offer a solution.
Both parties agree to certain terms, and the mediator simply helps them express their positions, listens to their disputes, and seeks a solution that addresses everyone's needs and works toward a just and viable solution. The parties themselves are the ones that make the decisions. Mediators use their experience in communication and negotiation to help parties make effective and informed decisions on their own. They must be aware of any state ethical standards or canons of judicial conduct that regulate or guide their efforts as mediators. Mediation is often faster and cheaper than award, and even if it doesn't resolve the dispute, it almost always helps the parties to clarify and narrow down issues so that the award can move forward more quickly. The law stipulates that everything that is said during mediation, including all communications between the parties and the mediator, is confidential and no evidence of anything said or documents submitted during the mediation process will be allowed in any judicial proceeding.
The mediator must ensure that the parties understand that their role is that of a neutral intermediary, not that of a representative or lawyer for either party. If one party is reluctant to participate in mediation, the mediator must carefully discuss with them and the other parties, within the limits of discretion and confidentiality, whether the mediation process should continue. All JAMS mediators should be aware of applicable state laws or court rules that may apply to the mediations they are conducting. The purpose of these Ethics Guidelines is to provide basic guidance to JAMS mediators on ethical issues that may arise during or related to the mediation process. A party that intends to challenge a mediator must send a written notice of its challenge, stating the reasons for that challenge, to the Registrar, the other party and the contested mediator within 15 days after they have known or may have had that there are circumstances that give rise to justified doubts as to the impartiality of the mediator. The mediator must not use confidential information acquired during mediation for personal gain or for others, or to adversely affect the interests of others.