Confidentiality has always been one of the cornerstones and significant advantages of mediation over litigation. Unlike mediation, all of the documents and statements in court are a public record, there for everyone to read and hear – including your relatives, co-workers, neighbors and friends.
Now, despite overwhelming concern from many major legal organizations and experts that it was a fix for a non-existent problem, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law passed by the state legislature which changes the California Evidence Code and adds a new section in connection with mediation.
The new law requires attorneys representing clients in mediation to provide disclosures in writing about mediation confidentiality. The attorney must provide the disclosures to clients BEFORE the client agrees to participation in mediation, or AFTER if the client hires the attorney after agreeing to mediation. The law tells attorneys what this disclosure must say and how it must be formatted. The client must sign the disclosure form. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
If you are an attorney who represents a party who agrees to engage a mediator such as Weber Dispute Resolution, it is YOUR responsibility to comply with this new law.
Contact Weber Dispute Resolution if we can answer your questions about mediation or provide mediation services to help you avoid expensive and PUBLIC litigation.
How to Comply with California’s New Mediation Disclosure Requirement
To make it a bit easier to comply with the new California Evidence Code section requirements, Weber Dispute Resolution has created a draft form which complies with the requirements of the California Evidence Code starting in 2019.
If you are an attorney representing a client who decides to enter mediation, you MUST provide this form to your client prior to the start of the mediation process.
If you are an attorney who is hired by a client who has already agreed to enter mediation before hiring you, you STILL must provide this form, even though you are being hired after the fact.