I had a recent discussion with one of our members about the ethics of Contingent Fees in Mediation. Here is the scenario.
“One of the parties indicated that they would be willing to pay me a bonus if they got over a certain $ amount in their property settlement. It is a large asset pool and the bonus was a significant amount of money. I said that I couldn’t accept. Was I right in saying no?”
What do you think?
Are you able to accept a “bonus” is offered?
NMAS Accredited Mediators
There is a specific prohibition on contingent fees for NMAS Mediators. The specific clause in the NMAS Standards is Clause 11.2. Get the NMAS here.
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners
The general requirement to conduct ourselves in a professional manner and remain impartial and unbiased. A personal benefit from a specific outcome would be unprofessional and give reasonable grounds for the other party to believe that the practitioner may be biased in their facilitation of the process.
Under the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008 section 30 explains about avoidance of conflict of interest in terms of prior acquaintance with a party to FDR but does not specifically mention contingent fee structures.