IMI Mediation Advocacy criteria & guidelines

Competency Criteria for Mediation Advocates / Advisors

Mediation is most successful when the parties’ representatives and advisors are knowledgeable and skilled in the principles of the mediation process and negotiation theories.  Mediations can fail when party representatives act as if they were in a courtroom rather than in a negotiation.
Mediation presents unique problem-solving opportunities in which representatives can assist their clients to reach faster, cheaper and/or better outcomes with the assistance of a mediator.  They can help their clients achieve outcomes that may be unattainable in a courtroom or arbitration tribunal.  But to do that, they need a different set of knowledge and skills. 


IMI has designed Criteria for programs qualifying competent Mediation Advocates/Advisors in order to establish a professional and technical basis for enabling disputing parties to identify professionals experienced in advising and representing clients in the resolution of disputes through mediation and related dispute resolution processes.  The Criteria are presented in two broad categories: General Requirements for the programs and Substantive Criteria for Mediation Advocates/Advisors Competency:

More on the requirements of Mediation Advocacy assessment programs

Nomenclature - Mediation Advocate/Mediation Advisor

Mediation is a form of facilitated negotiation which does not necessarily take place as part of a judicial or other adjudicative process.  Because mediation is an extra-legal process, not all professionals who may advise, represent and assist disputing parties in mediation are necessarily legally qualified.
In many countries, the term "advocate" and language equivalents of that word denote or imply that a person is a qualified lawyer and should not (and in some cases could not) be used by a person not legally qualified.  In some countries, however, that connotation does not arise.  Nomenclature is therefore largely a jurisdiction-specific issue.
A Mediation Advocacy Qualifying Assessment Program need to clearly identify in the application which qualification will be accorded to successful candidates: IMI Certified Mediation Advocate or IMI Certified Mediation Advisor.

Mediation Advocacy General Knowledge Requirements

The following areas of practical skills are required for effective mediation advocacy.  This list is intended as guidance to MA-QAPs in designing knowledge assessments.  The list is not necessarily exhaustive or mandatory and is offered as guidance. 

  • Knowing when mediation may not be a suitable process to address particular issues.
  • Identifying procedural options and preferred processes for reaching optimal outcomes.
  • Knowledge of hybrid dispute resolution processes (e.g., Arb-Med, Med-Arb, Arb//Med, Med-Con, Med//Con, MEDALOA) and their potential advantages and drawbacks in different circumstances.
  • Understanding and applying the best timing for each Dispute Resolution process.
  • Understanding of the nature, theory, procedure, practical application, methodology, appropriateness, benefits and disadvantages of the prevalent types of mediation, schemes or programmes, procedural rules and pertinent costs.
  • Knowledge of negotiation and solution-generating processes, as well as party and participant dynamics, as contextualised by the choice of mediation process/vehicle.
  • Understanding of the role of a mediator, and the palette of mediator methodology, psychology, core training, and practices.
  • Knowledge of relevant laws affecting mediation practice including structure and enforceability of mediation agreements (where relevant), confidentiality and privilege /professional secrecy, and structure and enforceability of settlement agreements.
  • Familiarity with methods of formulating solutions, including assessing alternatives (BATNA, WATNA, PATNA, RATNA)[2] & preparing client and self for joint/caucus mediation meetings.
  • Ability to assist parties in separating interests from positions.
  • Ability to seek and understand the motivations behind individual positions as distinguished from the issues in dispute.
  • Familiarity with techniques like questioning, summarizing, (active/effective) listening, framing and re-framing, reformulating, reflecting and paraphrasing.
  • Being able to make strategic choices that can help strike a balance between positional claims that advocate the clients' interests and creating value based on interests.
  • Familiarity with cross-cultural settings and dynamics.
  • Understanding of cross-border and multi-cultural mediation paradigms.
  • Ability to adapt procedural parameters when dealing with multi-party or complex cases involving numerous participants.
  • Understanding of professional and ethical standards and behaviors, and the use of ethics in generating, informing and/or setting norms.
  • Being able to draft settlement agreements as discussed by the parties to the mediation.
  • Being able to understand and interpret settlement agreements and procedural options.
  • Being able to explain the nature, theory, procedure, practical application, methodology, appropriateness, benefits, advantages and drawbacks of prevalent types of mediation within or between relevant jurisdictions, court-connected mediation schemes, ad-hoc or institutional procedural rules, applicable costs, and professional applicable professional ethics codes.
  • Knowledge of problem-solving, interest-based negotiation techniques.
  • Knowledge of the distributive (adversarial) approach to negotiation, in addition to the problem-solving (interest-based) approach and knowing when and why to apply each. Knowing how to avoid and counter unhelpful adversarial attitudes, behavior and language.
  • Knowing how to use techniques for productively supporting the parties, their representatives, the mediator and the process, and using the mediator and the process effectively to generate a mutually accepted outcome.
  • Knowing how to effectively communicate with the mediator, prior to, during and after the mediation sessions.


Mediation Advocacy Practical Skills Requirements

The areas of practical skills required for effective Mediation Advocacy in each stage of the mediation can be dowloaded here.