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Home > Country profiles > USA > Articles > Article detail

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Wednesday, 3rd January 2019

"Florida Court Ordered Mediation with a Limited English Proficient (LEP) Party

 Since 1994, in response to ethical questions of mediators, The Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee of The Florida Supreme Court (“MEAC”), governed primarily by The Florida Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators (“The Florida Rules”), has been providing written advisory opinions to mediators. MEAC Opinions, which permit a dissenting view, are a very valuable resource to the profession of mediation. This commentary is an attempt to focus on important dissenting views in a constructive and direct manner.

MEAC Opinions 2011-017 and 2014-004 applied without qualification set forth an unreasonable ethical standard of mediator conduct. The two Opinions may be viewed favorably only in a perfect world. In addition to this unrealistic perspective, MEAC declines to accept responsibility under Rule 10.910 of The Florida Rules to provide comprehensive advisory Opinions to ensure mediator’s understand and comply with legislative and judicial authority. The two unqualified Opinions deny a limited English proficient (“LEP”) party meaningful access to Court ordered mediation programs and create impediments to the practice of bilingual mediation. As a result Family Court mediation referrals of dissolution of marriage cases with an LEP party routinely contradict the two MEAC Opinions. In every area of court ordered mediation, the two MEAC Opinions tend to discourage mediators who creatively seek to preserve the opportunity for equal justice. To better understand the overall situation, let us look at the MEAC Opinions, applicable federal legislation, and Florida judicial practice and policy."

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Language: English
Contact: Patrick J. Mastronardo, Esq.

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