Criteria for Mediator Credentials and Quality Control

Program Specifics:  description of the subject area handled by the roster and of the source of mediators.

Gatekeepers:  the individual or group responsible for making the determination of whether an applicant meets the requirements for initial and on-going roster membership.

Qualifications, Credentialing and Quality Assurance:

Levels of credentialing: generally a tiered approach with basic and advance levels of education, training, experience or demonstrated knowledge, skills and abilities.

Training/Standards: prerequisites for inclusion on roster, with a focus on “classroom preparation” with an assessment of trainees’ strengths and weaknesses.  

Education: college-level or above mediation or related subject-matter courses/degree recommended or required for roster membership.

Amount of experience: “flying time” of neutrals, measured in number of cases and/or number of hours in mediation.  Numerous programs and rosters permit any neutral to practice provided that he or she has “logged” a certain minimum number of cases or hours in mediation. 

Mentoring or supervision prior to credentialing: co-mediation or some form of apprenticeship with experienced neutrals who evaluate applicants. 

Evaluation of training participants/Performance tests: participation in mock mediations through which candidates have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability. 

References: references from co-mediators or parties, or lists of clients from previous cases.

Interviews: interviews with neutrals to assess process understanding and prior performance. 

Other prerequisites: specific standards and requirements for roster membership other than those listed above.

Re-credentialing:  ability to remain a roster member by maintaining current education, training, experience or demonstrating identified knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Neutral Development:

Ethical standards: expectations that neutrals adhere to stated ethical standards and may include support for neutrals “in the field”.

Continuing education or training: post-credentialing training and conferences to enhance skills, apprise of new developments in the field, and provide a forum to strategize approaches to commonly experienced mediator challenges. 

Mentoring or supervision post-credentialing:  co-mediation or some form of mentoring which may involve follow-up training and, occasionally, telephone advice for neutrals.

Evaluation and Assessment:

User evaluation: feedback from participants in the mediation through tools such as post-mediation questionnaires and evaluations.  Questions may include: Was the process useful?  Did the participants feel that the mediator maintained neutrality, understood issues, stimulated solutions, and assisted parties in reaching agreement?

Complaint procedures/panels: effort to promote quality mediation through opportunities to register complaints, either in writing or through a hotline. 

Website (if any):  the website of the roster, if one exists, or of the organization that supports the roster.

Contact Information:  the phone number, fax number, email address, etc. to be contacted for further information about the roster, if the organization wishes to receive inquiries

Criteria  prepared using the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Task Force on Credentialing “Report on Mediator Credentialing and Quality Assurance” (2002).

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