Authority and Duties of Mediators
(a) Authority of Mediators. The mediator shall at all times be authorized to control the conference and the procedures to be followed.
(b) Duties. The mediator shall set up the mediation conference. The mediator shall define and describe the following to the parties:
(1) The mediation process, including the difference between mediation and other forms of conflict resolution;
(2) The facts that the mediation conference is not a trial; the mediator is not a judge, jury or arbitrator; and the parties retain the right to trial if they do not reach a settlement;
(3) The inadmissibility of conduct and statements as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding;
(4) The circumstances under which the mediator may meet alone with either of the parties or with any other person;
(5) Whether and under what conditions communications with the mediator will be held in confidence during the conference;
(6) The duties and responsibilities of the mediator and the parties;
(7) The fact that any agreement must be reached by mutual consent of the parties; and
(8) The costs of the mediation settlement conference.
(c) Confidentiality. The mediator must comply with Rule 8 regarding confidentiality.
(d) Duty of Impartiality/Disclosure. The mediator has a duty to be impartial and to disclose any circumstance likely to affect impartiality or independence, including any bias, prejudice or financial or personal interest in the result of the mediation or any past or present relationship with the parties or their representatives.
(e) Declaring Impasse. It is the duty of the mediator to timely determine when the mediation is not viable, that an impasse exists, or that the mediation should end. A mediation cannot be unilaterally ended without the permission of the mediator.
(f) Reporting Results of Conference. Within ten (10) days of conclusion of the conference, the mediator shall file with the Clerk of Court a Proof of ADR on a form approved by the Supreme Court or its designee. Any request for a final hearing in a contested case subject to ADR under these rules shall include a copy of a Proof of ADR. South Carolina Court Administration or the South Carolina Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution may require the mediator to provide additional statistical data for evaluation of the program.
In pre-suit medical malpractice mediations required by S.C. Code §15-79-125, the Clerk of Court shall serve notice of entry of the Proof of ADR by first class mail upon all attorneys and unrepresented parties. The 60-day period in which to file a summons and complaint in accordance with S.C. Code §15-79-125(E)(1) shall commence upon receipt of written notice of entry of the Proof of ADR from the Clerk of Court.
(g) Immunity. The mediator shall have immunity from liability to the same extent afforded judicial officers of this state.
Last amended by Order dated May 3, 2007.