Mediating Multiculturally: Culture and the Ethical Mediator

Carrie Menkel-Meadow
University of California Irvine, School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center


MEDIATION ETHICS: CASES & COMMENTARIES, 305-338, Ellen Waldman, ed., San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2012-28
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-061


This commentary on mediating multiculturally in a chapter of Mediation Ethics (edited by Ellen Waldman) suggests there are times when mediators should not mediate, because of their own ethical commitments. Commenting on a hypothetical divorce scenario (of Ziba, a 17 year old from her 44 year old husband, with two children aged 3 and 2, where the parties claim to want Shari’a principles to apply), the author (Carrie Menkel-Meadow) suggests that she would not mediate a case which might violate formal laws (American marriage and divorce laws) or infringe on rights that one of the parties might not be fully aware of. A variety of sources of ethics, including formal law, legal and mediation ethical rules, and personal ethical commitments may structure how mediators choose whether to take a case, educate the parties about their rights, make a referral, or how to mediate if complex (and different for each of the parties and/or the mediator) legal, moral, religious and cultural values are at stake. The chapter contains contrasting views expressed by two different mediators, with summary and commentary by the book’s editor.

Mediating Multiculturally- Culture and the Ethical Mediator

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