This past September, I sent the following letter to Barbara Gaal, of the California Law Revision Commission, arguing against the commissions’ attempt to make broad changes to the confidentiality protection currently afforded statements made in mediation. The commission continued its public hearing in Los Angeles this past week as it seeks further comment on this important issue.
Regardless of your perspective, its critical to remember that commercial mediation has evolved over the past 25 years, founded on the principle that it is an interest-based process and one that requires the participation of those involved in the dispute. Broad removal of the protections of confidentiality will muzzle the very people we are trying to assist. The legislation contemplated by the commission threatens to return us to a day when litigants were treated as outsiders looking in on a dispute resolution process that often failed miserably to meet their needs.