January 28, 1993
Please Note: This Opinion is modified by Opinion 09-88, which advises that a part-time judge may volunteer as a mediator for a program that charges no fee for mediation services, even if the judges court may refer cases for mediation.
Digest: There is no ethical bar which prohibits a part-time City Court Judge from serving as a mediator/arbitrator for private alternative dispute resolution firms.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.1; 100.2; 100.3; 100.5(e)
A part-time City Court judge has been asked to serve as a mediator and arbitrator for alternative dispute resolution firms. The judge advises that no judge connected with such City Court has ever or would refer matters before that court to such alternative dispute resolution firms.
Section 100.5(e) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that:
No judge, other than a part-time judge, shall act as an arbitrator or mediator. A part-time judge acting as an arbitrator or mediator shall do so with particular regard to sections 100.1, 100.2 and 100.3 of this Part.
In prior opinions we have written that “a judge may serve as a mediator/arbitrator only if his Court has no jurisdiction to refer cases to the particular dispute resolution center.” (Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, Opinion 90-12, Vol. V; Opinion 91-03, Vol. VIII.)
Accordingly, this Committee concludes that there is no ethical bar which prohibits this part-time City Court judge from serving as a mediator/arbitrator in these disputes. (See also Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, Opinion 92-69, Vol. IX.)