JUDGE AS FACILITATOR OR MODERATOR

Opinion No. 171 (1994)


QUESTION: May a judge facilitate or moderate a discussion between two factions of a community dispute (developer vs. environmentalist)?

The focus of the discussion is to find ways to improve communication in order to avoid conflicts that ultimately would require legislative or judicial determination. There would be no compensation for the judge.

ANSWER: No. The activity described is that of a mediator. Opinion 161 discusses the judge's role as mediator and clearly states that mediation is not a judicial activity. (See Opinion 161 for further discussion of judges and mediators.)