ADR Groups Comment on Uniform Mediation Act Draft
A committee drafting the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA) las made key changes in the draft based on comments from various dispute resolution organizations, including the American Arbitration Association and the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR).
Three of the key changes in the proposed Act are: (a) elimination of a part of a subsection which provides for the "manifest injustice" exception in mediation; (b) narrowing of the scope of another subsection in order to remove the option of allowing mediator participation in post-mediation court proceedings in certain cases; (c) a new provision will be added to the Act to make it more difficult to invoke any exceptions to mediation confidentiality.
The proposed Act aims to replace the current patchwork of state laws on mediation by providing a uniform legislation that states could adopt. The first draft was issued in June 1999 by a committee consisting of two panels: a National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) committee and an American Bar Association-Section of Dispute Resolution committee. The two panels have interlocking members-the NCCUSL committee has two ABA members and vice versa.
The committee conducted a public policy meeting Dec. 10-12 in Monterrey, Calif., which was attended by representatives of leading organizations in the mediation community. The mediation community worked closely with the drafting committee in this endeavor, said Dennis Sharp, co-chair of SPIDR's UMA Committee.
Sharp, who facilitated the Monterrey public policy meeting, said the first part of the meeting focused on comments offered by groups such as the AAA, SPIDR, Academy of Family Mediators, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Conflict Resolution Education Network, National Association for Community Mediation, Northern California Mediation Association, Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services Inc. (JAMS), CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, and California Dispute Resolution Council. The AAA and SPIDR submitted separate written comments, which resulted from collaborative discussion with the other organizations. The AAA's comments were written by Senior Vice President Mark E. Appel.
The participants of the Monterrey meeting broke into three groups to brainstorm on possible changes to the draft. The drafting committee agreed to some key changes advanced by the groups, such as the following:
Elimination of the part of Subsection 2(c)(5) that provides for "manifest injustice" exception in mediation. …