Any occupation wishing to exercise authority must find a technical basis for it, assert an exclusive jurisdiction, link both skill and jurisdiction to standards of training, and convince the public that its services are uniquely trustworthy and tied to a set of professional norms.

Harold J. Wilensky, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UC Berkeley

IMI is the only organisation in the world that transcends local jurisdictions to develop global, professional standards for mediators and advocates involved in collaborative dispute resolution and negotiation. IMI convenes stakeholders, promotes understanding of mediation, and disseminates skills. IMI is not a service provider. Read more about our vision and mission.

IMI is changing the landscape in the world of dispute resolution through the establishment of mediation standards and via initiatives such as its worldwide ‘Global Pound Conference‘ series. Competent mediation empowers parties, promoting better, less adversarial access to justice. Read more about mediation. The international standards established by IMI add guarantees of quality and transparency, facilitating credible, and ultimately more satisfactory, outcomes for those who desire it most—conflict parties themselves.

IMI has undertaken a task of immense importance, not merely in developing uniform standards of practice for conflict resolution, but in creating the foundation for an enormous increase in international conflict resolution capacity. If we are to solve global problems we will require not only global solutions, but global processes, methods and techniques. This will necessitate the development of a collaborative approach to diversity and uniformity in conflict resolution practices, and the creation of a global forum where our differences can be discussed, analyzed, learned from, and synergistically combined.

Kenneth Cloke, Former President of Mediators Beyond Borders International (San Diego, California)

Developing global professional standards

Global professional standards exist when high practice standards are developed, tested, and implemented consistently across international boundaries by recognised, professional experts.  IMI’s standards for Mediators were developed by an Independent Standards Commission (ISC), a 70+ strong body of Mediators, Users, Judiciary, Providers, Trainers, and Educators from 27 countries. Other standards—such as those for Investor-State mediation, or for Online Dispute Resolution, were likewise created by international teams of experts. Read more about IMI’s Task Forces on Mediation Advocacy, Online Dispute Resolution, Intercultural Competence, Investor-State Dispute Resolution, Mixed Mode Dispute Resolution, and Mediator Training and Competency Assessment.

Standards are applied by service providers assessed and approved to run Qualifying Assessment Programs (QAPs) that assess and qualify experienced and competent mediators for IMI Certification.  There are currently QAPs in 31 countries, and more than 550 IMI Certified Mediators worldwide. View QAPs; search Certified Mediators and Advocates.

IMI’s Unique Value Propositions

  1. The Feedback Digest is one of the value propositions behind IMI’s certification scheme. Increasingly, providers and policy makers are appreciating the value of transparency into skills and competencies in this field.
  2. IMI is the only body setting practice standards for mediators on a global scale, and the only body promoting mediation as a dispute resolution and deal-making process globally. IMI has established a series of international task forces that help to drive mediation into new areas internationally, such as investor-State dispute resolution, which until now was only addressed by arbitration.
  3. IMI convenes stakeholders and provides a platform where they can work together on policy developments that will advance the development of mediation.

The Benefits of International Credentialing

Mediation has come a long way, but still has much further to go. The field now needs to evolve quickly into a true profession. High minimum practice and ethical standards need to be set, made transparent and achieved internationally; users – customers – of mediation need to see these standards operating effectively. More and better information must be made available by individual mediators about their skills, capabilities and personalities. Quality and Transparency together will enable mediation to grow.

Lord Woolf of Barnes, Chair of IMI Advisory Council; Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales 2000-2005; Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong; President of the Civil & Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Center; Recipient of the International Academy of Mediators’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

For Disputants

The adoption of common international standards in mediation means users can rely on objective and proven quality standards and assessment criteria to make an informed decision on choosing a mediator, rather than relying on word-of-mouth, hearsay, directory listings, self-proclamations by mediators, or other notoriously unreliable methods. It means greater confidence in suggesting mediation to another party (or agreeing to a proposal), and that making a suitable choice between mediators is made much easier. Ultimately it means lower costs and risks, and less time focusing on process aspects—leaving more opportunity to manage the conflict itself.

Mediators and mediation service providers

IMI standards improve prospects for organisations qualifying for QAP status. Mediators accredited via these QAPs will be able to deliver better results for users, in turn building the reputation of both those mediators and their Qualifying organisation.  Additionally, by improving access to quality mediators, mediation becomes more trusted and widely used, translating into more business for mediators and service providers. The IMI ‘find a mediator’ tool extends the reach of mediators to a wider constituency of users.

Professional firms

IMI standards make it easier for law firms and other professional advisers to suggest mediation as a viable tool for their clients. Sustainable solutions reached through mediation help legal advisers to be perceived as solution providers who strive for the best and fastest outcome to a conflict (in terms of risk, quality of result, reputation, relationships, costs, and time). Legal counsel accredited as IMI Certified Mediation Advocates distinguish themselves from their competitors, leading to repeat business as a representative acting in the best interests of their client.


When a profession is properly self-regulated, the regulator can focus on protecting users. In the case of mediation, this includes enshrining confidentiality and privilege in law, supporting and implementing ethics considerations, encouraging mediation in court process and the enforceability of settlements. This enables a balance to be struck between the responsibility of the profession to self-regulate efficiently and the role of the regulator in protecting the interests of users.

What else has been achieved?

IMI has published a Code of Professional Conduct for Mediators, which is backed up by a disciplinary process, similar to any other leading profession. IMI has established criteria for IMI Inter-Cultural Certification (launched April 2012) and for IMI Certified Mediation Advocates. Mediation training materials are being made available to trainers and educators in countries where mediation is largely undeveloped.  IMI has developed several tools for users, which are available on the IMI web portal—for example, the online case analysis tool Olé enables users and their advisers to analyse any case to determine objectively the most appropriate dispute resolution options. This tool was made available as a result of a grant from the GE Foundation.

IMI makes all informative materials and tools available to everyone copyright-free.

IMI also has an active Young Mediators’ Initiative (YMI) that enables aspiring mediators to gain experience by assisting established mediators in real mediations.

IMI has taken the first step in bringing conflict resolution into the 21st century, by inviting us and the cultures and nations we represent to come together and learn from each other. Only in this way can we hope to overcome the obstacles we have created through conflict.

Kenneth Cloke, President of Mediators Beyond Borders (San Diego, California)

Who are IMI?

All strategic decisions are made by an integrated, rotating Board of Directors comprising people with a background as users, and individuals with relevant ADR expertise.  Expansion beyond these stakeholders (eg. to government, community, family law and professional firms) is in progress.  Operations are led by a part-time Director for External Relations and a team of volunteers.  The Advisory Council, comprising prominent mediation thought leaders in the world, provides guidance as needed. Learn more about the IMI Team.

Which ADR bodies are involved with IMI, and why have they chosen to do so?

Directors of the following ADR bodies are members of the IMI Board:

  • American Arbitration Association/International Center for Dispute Resolution
  • Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)
  • International Chamber of Commerce – ICC
  • JAMS
  • Singapore Mediation Centre and Singapore International Arbitration Centre
  • Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution
  • Netherlands Mediation Institute

All these institutions have contributed to funding to IMI, other than the Netherlands Mediation Institute, which has contributed in kind.

The Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group (CCIAG) also collaborates with IMI on international strategic and operational levels. The Chair of the CCIAG is a member of the IMI Board.

Most major arbitration institutions are embracing and practising mediation because the demand from disputants is growing. A close association with IMI enables those institutions to help establish high professional standards and help define the public policy framework for early dispute resolution internationally.

Which companies are involved with IMI, and why have they chosen to do so?

Currently, executives of Alstom, Airbus, General Electric, Orange, Siemens AG and Shell International are members of the IMI Board.  The former head of IP at BAT is also a member of the Board.  The former Chief Litigation Counsel of Air Products & Chemicals is a Vice Chair of the Independent Standards Commission and senior counsel at BAT and Siemens are members of the International Standards Commission. The IMI search engine is the only mediator selection and identification tool chosen by the Kluwer Corporate Counsel Dispute Resolution Online service (

Involvement with IMI at a strategic level, such as a member of the Board, provides forethought-leading companies an opportunity to help drive one of the key social and economic challenges for the future, namely progressive conflict management.  The companies with a senior executive on the IMI Board are able to influence the development of rule of law to a more collaborative, solution-orientated, relationship-building framework.  This coincides with many multinationals’ shared interests in protecting and enhancing reputation and trust (as evidenced in the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer) as well as preventive law, risk containment and cost savings.  They are publicly perceived as helping develop mediation and ADR on a practical level throughout the world.  One of the spin-off practical benefits is that when these companies propose mediation as part of their ongoing business, that proposal is viewed not as an expression of weakness but as a genuine implementation of corporate policy and ethos.

Entity and Funding

IMI is a non-profit foundation (‘stichting’) and charity (‘ANBI’) registered in The Hague, and is funded entirely by donations. Current IMI funding sources include private and public donations, grants from dispute resolution foundations, business sponsorships and voluntary Listing Contributions from IMI Certified Mediators.  Learn more about IMI’s Charity Status and Funding.

The Hague is the City of International Peace, Justice, Reconciliation, and Security, and the Municipality of The Hague has been a Patron of IMI, initially providing subsidised office space for IMI, close to the Peace Palace.

See also

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