Substitute Senate Bill No. 580
          Substitute Senate Bill No. 580

               PUBLIC ACT NO. 98-59


AN ACT CONCERNING MEDIATION.


    Be it enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. (NEW)  (a) As used in this section,
"mediation" means a  process,  or  any  part  of a
process, which is  not  court-ordered,  in which a
person  not affiliated  with  either  party  to  a
lawsuit  facilitates  communication  between  such
parties and, without  deciding the legal issues in
dispute or imposing  a  resolution  to  the  legal
issues, which assists the parties in understanding
and resolving the legal dispute of the parties.
    (b) Except as  provided  in  this  section, by
agreement of the  parties  or  in  furtherance  of
settlement discussions, a  person  not  affiliated
with either party  to  a  lawsuit, an attorney for
one of the  parties  or any other participant in a
mediation  shall  not   voluntarily  disclose  or,
through  discovery  or   compulsory   process,  be
required  to  disclose   any   oral   or   written
communication  received  or  obtained  during  the
course of a  mediation,  unless  (1)  each  of the
parties agrees in  writing to such disclosure, (2)
the disclosure is  necessary  to enforce a written
agreement that came  out of the mediation, (3) the
disclosure is required  by  statute or regulation,
or by any  court,  after  notice to all parties to
the mediation, or  (4)  the disclosure is required
as a result  of  circumstances  in  which  a court
finds that the  interest  of justice outweighs the
need  for  confidentiality,  consistent  with  the
principles of law.
    (c) Any disclosure  made  in  violation of any
provision of this  section shall not be admissible
in any proceeding.
    (d) Nothing in  this section shall prevent (1)
the discovery or  admissibility  of  any  evidence
that is otherwise discoverable merely because such
evidence was presented  during  the  course of the
mediation, or (2)  the  disclosure  of information
for  research  or  educational  purposes  done  in
cooperation  with  dispute   resolution   programs
provided  the  parties   and  specific  issues  in
controversy are not identifiable.
    Sec. 2. Public  act  98-21  shall  take effect
from its passage, except that section 1 shall take
effect October 1, 1998.
    Sec. 3. This  act  shall  take effect from its
passage, except that  section  1 shall take effect
October 1, 1998.

Approved April 24, 1998