The Australian National Mediator Standards state that ‘the purpose of a mediation process is to maximise participants’ decision making’.1 To achieve this, the dominant model of mediation practised in Australia – the facilitative model2 – ethically requires the mediator to be in an ‘outsider-impartial’ role,3 as opposed to an ‘insider-partial’ role.4 That is, mediation ethics require mediators to be impartial facilitators of the process in order to ensure that the content and outcome of the dispute are self-determined by the parties.5 In managing the process impartially, a mediator is expected to be fair, even-handed, unbiased and free of prejudice.6 A mediator who is coercive, who favours one party over another or who makes a decision for the parties is not impartial and thereby is said to violate the possibility of party self-determination.7