Mediation in 2011

Some of the rules governing mediation in Michigan may change in 2011. As I mentioned in November, Michigan’s court rule on mediation was adopted in 2000 and has not been amended since then. A new Court Rule on Confidentiality in mediation is being considered. The current rule (MCR 2.411(C)(5)) is two paragraphs; the proposed rule is two pages. So far there has not been much comment so it may well be approved this year. The State Court Administrative Office is proposing brand new Mediator Standards of Conduct, and they too may be finalized in 2011. The current Standards are two pages; the new ones run to eight, and are not only more comprehensive–they apply to both general civil and domestic relations mediation. Neither of these rules will change mediation practice in Michigan, but they will give mediators significantly more, and better, guidance than they have today.