On Sept. 11, Governor Brown signed SB 954 into law, requiring attorneys to provide their clients with written mediation confidentiality disclosures, when they are representing clients in connection with mediation.
The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, amends California Evidence Code Section 1122, and adds Section 1129.
If an attorney currently represents a client, the attorney must provide the disclosures before the client agrees to participate in mediation. If the attorney is retained after the client has agreed to mediation, the attorney must provide the disclosures immediately.
Other highlights of SB 954 include:
- The printed disclosure should be printed on a single detached page in the client’s preferred language and at least 12-point font.
- The names of the attorney and the client must be on the page, and be signed and dated by the attorney and the client.
- An attorney who is retained after an individual agrees to participate in the mediation shall, as soon as reasonably possible after being retained, comply with the printed disclosure and acknowledgment requirements.
- Failure of an attorney to comply with these disclosure requirements does not invalidate an agreement prepared in the course of, or pursuant to, a mediation.
- Communication, document, or writings related to an attorney’s compliance with the disclosure requirements is not confidential and may be used in an attorney disciplinary proceeding if the communication, document, or writing does not disclose anything said or done or any admission made in the course of the mediation.
Aside from the specifications above, the SB 954 law does not change any existing California laws regarding mediation confidentiality. For a more complete rundown of the law, see https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB9
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