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Proposed advertising rules for certified mediators.

The Supreme Court Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy has submitted to the Florida Supreme Court proposed amendments to Florida Rule for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators 10.610, Advertising. The proposals concern the general marketing practices of mediators. The court invites all interested persons to comment on the proposed amendments, which are reproduced in full below. The proposals also are available online, along with the petition and the committee's "Report and Recommendations: Use of the Title 'Judge' by Retired Judges Providing Mediation Services," at An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the court on or before October 15, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the acting committee Chair Thomas H. Bateman III, Messer, Caparello & Self, 2618 Centennial Place, Tallahassee 32308, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The committee chair has until November 5 to file a response to any comments filed with the court. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the court's administrative order In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004).



Rule 10.610. Advertising Marketing Practices

(a) False or Misleading Marketing Practices. A mediator shall not engage in any marketing practices, including advertising, which contains false or misleading information. A mediator shall ensure that any advertisements of marketing of the mediator's qualifications, services to be rendered, or the mediation process areis accurate and honest.

(b) Supreme Court Certification. Any marketing practice in which a mediator indicates that such mediator is "Florida Supreme Court certified" is misleading unless it also identifies at least one area of certification in which the mediator is certified.

(c) Other Certifications. Any marketing publication that generally refers to a mediator being "certified" is misleading unless the advertising mediator has successfully completed an established process for certifying mediators that involves actual instruction rather than the mere payment of a fee. Use of the term "certified" in advertising is also misleading unless the mediator identifies the entity issuing the referenced certification and the area or field of certification earned, if applicable.

(d) Prior Adjudicative Experience. Any marketing practice is misleading if the mediator states or implies that prior adjudicative experience, including, but not limited to, service as a judge, magistrate, or administrative hearing officer, makes one a better or more qualified mediator.

(e) Prohibited Claims or Promises. A mediator shall not make claims of achieving specific outcomes or promises implying favoritism for the purpose of obtaining business.

(f) Additional Prohibited Marketing Practices. A mediator shall not engage in any marketing practice that diminishes the importance of a party's right to self-determination or the impartiality of the mediator, or that demeans the dignity of the mediation process or the judicial system.

Committee Notes

2009 Revision.

Areas of certification, in subdivision (b) include county, family, circuit, dependency and other Supreme Court certifications.

The roles of a mediator and an adjudicator are fundamentally distinct. The integrity of the judicial system may be impugned when the prestige of the judicial office is used for commercial purposes. When engaging in any mediation marketing practice, a former adjudicative officer should not lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance private interests in a manner inconsistent with this rule. For example, the depiction of a mediator in judicial robes or use of the word "judge" with or without modifiers preceding the mediator's name would be inappropriate. However, an accurate representation of the mediator's judicial experience would not be inappropriate. This rule is not intended to prohibit appropriate reference to prior adjudicative service by use of such terms as "circuit judge retired," former judge of compensation claims," and "former general magistrate."
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Title Annotation:Notice
Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Sep 15, 2009
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