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Ethical Rules of Mediation and Arbitration Adopted by Daniel Bent

        Dan Bent adheres to the "Ethical Standards of Professional Responsibility" adopted by Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR - formerly SPIDR). Those standards are to promote the resolution of disputes. We believe that resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and other neutral interventions can be of great benefit to disputing parties and to society.  The ethical standards, adopted in 1986, are to promote among those adhering to these standards ethical conduct and a high level of competency, including honesty, integrity, impartiality and the exercise of good judgment in their dispute resolution efforts. It is hoped that these standards also will help to (1) define the profession of dispute resolution, (2) educate the public, and (3) inform users of dispute resolution services.

SCOPE:

It is recognized that SPIDR Members and Associates resolve disputes in various sectors within the disciplines of dispute resolution and have their own codes of professional conduct. These standards have been developed as general guidelines of practice for neutral disciplines represented in the SPIDR membership. Ethical considerations relevant to some, but not to all, of these disciplines are not covered by these standards.

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

Neutrals have a duty to the parties, to the professions, and to themselves. They should be honest and unbiased, act in good faith, be diligent, and not seek to advance their own interests at the expense of their parties'.

Neutrals must act fairly in dealing with the parties, have no personal interest in the terms of the settlement, show no bias towards individuals and institutions involved in the dispute, be reasonably available as requested by the parties, and be certain that the parties are informed of the process in which they are involved.

RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PARTIES:

1. Impartiality. The neutral must maintain impartiality toward all parties. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias either by word or by action, and a commitment to serve all parties as opposed to a single party.

2. Informed Consent. The neutral has an obligation to assure that all parties understand the nature of the process, the procedures, the particular role of the neutral, and the parties' relationship to the neutral.

3. Confidentiality. Maintaining confidentiality is critical to the dispute resolution process. Confidentiality encourages candor, a full exploration of the issues, and a neutral's acceptability. There may be some types of cases, however, in which confidentiality is not protected. In such cases, the neutral must advise the parties, when appropriate in the dispute resolution process, that the confidentiality of the proceedings cannot necessarily be maintained. Except in such instances, the neutral must resist all attempts to cause him or her to reveal any information outside the process. A commitment by the neutral to hold information in confidence within the process also must be honored.

4. Conflict of Interest. The neutral must refrain from entering or continuing in any dispute if he or she believes or perceives that participation as a neutral would be a clear conflict of interest and any circumstances that may reasonably raise a question as to the neutral's impartiality. The duty to disclose is a continuing obligation throughout the process.

5. Promptness. The neutral shall exert every reasonable effort to expedite the process.
6. The Settlement and its Consequences. The dispute resolution process belongs to the parties. The neutral has no vested interested in the terms of a settlement, but must be satisfied that agreements in which he or she has participated will not impugn the integrity of the process. The neutral has a responsibility to see that the parties consider the terms of a settlement. If the neutral is concerned about the possible consequences of a proposed agreement, and the needs of the parties dictate, the neutral must inform the parties of that concern. In adhering to this standard, the neutral may find it advisable to educate the parties, to refer one or more parties for specialized advice, or to withdraw from the case. In no case, however, shall the neutral violate section 3, Confidentiality, of these standards.

UNREPRESENTED INTERESTS:

The neutral must consider circumstances where interests are not represented in the process. The neutral has an obligation, where in his or her judgment the needs of parties dictate, to assure that such interests have been considered by the principal parties.

USE OF MULTIPLE PROCEDURES:

The use of more than one dispute resolution procedure by the same neutral involves additional responsibilities. Where the use of more than one procedure is initially contemplated, the neutral must take care at the outset to advise the parties of the nature of the procedures and the consequences of revealing information during any one procedure which the neutral may later use for decision making or share with another decision maker. Where the use of more than one procedure is contemplated after the initiation of the dispute resolution process, the neutral must explain the consequences and afford the parties an opportunity to select another neutral for the subsequent procedures. It is also incumbent upon the neutral to advise the parties of the transition from one dispute resolution process to another.

BACKGROUND AND QUALIFICATIONS:

A neutral should accept responsibility only in cases where the neutral has sufficient knowledge regarding the appropriate process and subject matter to be effective. A neutral has a responsibility to maintain and improve his or her professional skills.

DISCLOSURE OF FEES:

It is the duty of the neutral to explain to the parties at the outset of the process the basis of compensation, fees, and charges, if any.

SUPPORT OF THE PROFESSION:

The experienced neutral should participate in the development of new practitioners in the field and engage in efforts to educate the public about the value and use of neutral dispute resolution procedures. The neutral should provide pro bono services, where appropriate.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF NEUTRALS WORKING THE SAME CASE:

In the event that more than one neutral is involved in the resolution of a dispute, each has an obligation to inform the others regarding his or her entry in the case. Neutrals working with the same parties should maintain an open and professional relationship with each other.

ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION:

A neutral must be aware that some forms of advertising and solicitations are inappropriate and in some conflict resolution disciplines, such as labor arbitration, are impermissible. All advertising must honestly represent the services to be rendered. No claims of specific results or promises which imply favor of one side over another for the purpose of obtaining business should be made. No commissions, rebates, or other similar forms of remuneration should be given or received by a neutral for the referral of clients.

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The foregoing are the Ethical Standards of Professional Responsibility of the Association for Conflict Resolution (formerly the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution - SPIDR).

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Also, as a member of Hawaii's Dispute Prevention and Resolution, Inc.'s Distinguished Panel of Neutrals, Dan follows the "Mediation and Arbitration Rules, Procedures & Protocols of Dispute Prevention & Resolution, Inc." (1995) and the "Standards for Private and Public Mediators in the State of Hawaii" (1986) developed by the Hawaii Judiciary's Program on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Which can be found at:  http://www.state.hi.us/jud/adrstds.htm .

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        Dan Bent handles his own scheduling calendar.  He can be reached at 808/548-0080, by fax at 808/524-2798 or Email at DanBent@FairMediation.com. His mailing address is: Dan Bent, Dispute Prevention and Resolution, Inc., Suite 1155 Pauahi Tower, 1001 Bishop St., Honolulu, Hawaii  96813. His case administration and billing is managed by the user-friendly staff of Dispute Prevention and Resolution, Inc.