The Many Faces of Mediation Confidentiality - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 53, No. 4
Dennis Sharp is the regional vice president for the San Diego and Orange County regional offices of the American Arbitration Association. He is also an adjunct professor at California Western School of Law and San Diego State University teaching courses in arbitration, mediation, ADR, and dispute resolution system design. He has held leadership positions in several ADR associations including holding president or chair positions in the California Dispute Resolution Council, the ADR Section of the San Diego County Bar Association, and the San Diego Chapter of Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.
Confidentiality is one of the keys to the acceptability, as well as the success, of mediation among parties to a dispute. Yet, state statutes pertaining to such confidentiality remain inconsistent, when they address the issue at all. A model mediation statute may provide a solution, but at present a uniform approach to confidentiality provisions remains wishful thinking. Its importance, however, cannot be underestimated. Dennis Sharp reviews state statutes that deal with confidentiality and spins some interesting scenarios that highlight the need for any drafting or modifying body to incorporate flexibility and comprehensiveness into its mediation confidentiality laws.