Ethical Challenges for Mediators around the Globe: An Australian Perspective


Like much of the western world, in Australia, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an integral aspect of the modern legal system, and mediation is used extensively to resolve civil disputes in courts and tribunals. Additionally, Australian governments have recognized mediation as an important tool in improving access to justice for ordinary citizens. However, what justice means in the mediation context is a contested concept. The widespread use of mediation and the increase in the number of practitioners from various disciplines means there is a diversity of views on issues of justice, which are outlined in this Article.

This Article explores the ethical challenges mediators face, including how they identify and respond to those challenges. The authors contextualize the research study and detail the current academic analysis of mediators’ views and their research approach. Then, the authors examine the concept of justice in mediation, sketching the debates about justice in mediation and mediation ethics. This Article explores the topic of ethics in mediation, including what is an ethical issue, standards in mediation, and the core values of mediation. The authors describe the current regulatory system for mediators in Australia, as well as provisions of relevant codes of conduct. Then, this Article sets out the participant mediators’ responses to a sexual harassment scenario and summarizes the participants’ responses concerning mediators and ethical issues, with a discussion of the role of informed decision-making and reality testing in ethical mediation practice.


alternative dispute resolution, ADR, mediation, mediation ethics, Australia, National Mediation Accreditation Scheme, NMAS, ADR advantages, ADR disadvantages, Australian mediation, empirical mediation research, mediation survey, justice in mediation, mediation ethics standards



Mary Anne Noone (La Trobe University Law School)
Lola Akin Ojelabi (La Trobe University Law School)



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