Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) strategies, including arbitration, allow parties to resolve an issue without enduring the time and costs of litigation. However, since arbitrators are not judges, it is hard for some to put their trust in such individuals, especially when much is at stake.
When an outsider—even one with a legal background—has a prominent role in helping resolve a business or other dispute, you may wonder how they stay neutral. Training, education and rules of conduct all help third-party neutrals remain objective while guiding the parties through arbitration.
3 vital conduct rules third-party neutrals should follow
Of course, third-party neutrals must be ethical and knowledgeable, but that is not all that is necessary to arbitrate disputes fairly. Here are three rules of conduct that apply to neutrals in Florida and elsewhere.
Integrity and fairness. Third-party neutrals have a duty to assist the parties in obtaining a fair resolution. A part of that duty involves keeping the parties informed of their rights and ADR options such as mediation and arbitration.
Disclosure of conflicts of interest. Neutrals must inform involved parties about any ties they may have to the case. Such disclosures help to ensure nothing happens that might compromise the neutral aspect of arbitration.
Competent services. Once someone becomes a third-party neutral, they must remain competent, even in the face of legal changes or complications. Often, this means routinely undergoing training and education that keeps their ADR skills sharp.
Since more attorneys offer ADR services to businesses, individuals and law firms, the American Bar Association inserted a new rule just for lawyer neutrals. They must inform parties that they are not providing legal representation, and explain the different roles lawyers may fill during arbitration or mediation.