IMI, via its Independent Appraisal Committee, certifies “Qualifying Assessment Programs” (QAPs) as having the capability to assess individuals against IMI’s standards.  To have a QAP, an organisation’s program must meet the established criteria for QAPs, published elsewhere on this website. 

The below have been adapted and simplified from the criteria for QAPs, for use as guidelines by users who are attempting to establish whether their experience may meet the requirements for IMI Certification or Specialisation.  The criteria for QAPs are authoritative.

Note that Qualifying Assessment Programs are accessible on an equal basis, regardless of Applicants’ professional affiliations, gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics.

Minimum Standards—IMI Certified Mediators

Note that Qualifying Assessment Programs may have higher entrance standards than these, but they will never be lower. Do make sure you read through the requirements of the Qualifying Assessment Program you are interested in.

  1. Mediator Experience.  Applicants must have a substantial level of experience as a mediator—typically, 200 hours or 20 mediations suffice.
  2. Mediation Knowledge.   Applicants must have a strong understanding of general mediation theory and practice.  These may be assessed using methods such as written tests, essays, reports, theses, or interviews.
  3. Mediator Skills.  Applicants must be effective using the mediation process and techniques.  Evaluations/assessments may be based on roleplay or live action assessments, and may include videotaped and online assessments such as web dramas, self-assessments, interviews, peer reviews, user feedback, and other in-practice skill evaluations

Minimum Standards—IMI Certified Mediation Advocates

Note that Mediation Advocacy Qualifying Assessment Programs may have higher entrance standards than these, but they will never be lower. Do make sure you read through the requirements of the MA-QAP you are interested in.

  1. Experience of the Mediation Process: Applicants must have experienced at least five mediations as a Mediation Advisor/Advocate.  Exemptions: IMI Certified Mediators; mediators who have acted as sole mediator in at least 10 cases/200 hours (in countries where there is no IMI Qualifying Assessment Program.)
  2. Knowledge of Mediation Advocacy: Applicants must demonsrate a strong understanding of general mediation advocacy theory and practice.  Written tests, essays, reports, theses and interviews may be used to determine such knowledge.  Applicants are expected to be tested on and exhibit a comprehensive understanding of Mediation Advocacy theory derived from the leading international textbooks on the subject.  See also the General Knowledge Requirements set out below.
  3. Practical Mediation Advocacy Skills: Applicants must demontrate a high level of mediation advocacy competency.  Assessment may be conducted using role-plays or live action assessments, and may include videotaped and online assessments such as web dramas, self-assessments, interviews, peer reviews, user feedback or other in-practice skill evaluations.   See also the Practical Skills Requirements below.  Note that MA-QAPs may assess further practical skills.

Mediation Advocacy General Knowledge Requirements

The following areas of practical skills are required for effective mediation advocacy.  The list is offered as guidance.

  1. Knowing when mediation may not be a suitable process to address particular issues.
  2. Identifying procedural options and preferred processes for reaching optimal outcomes.
  3. 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.
  4. Understanding and applying the best timing for each Dispute Resolution process.
  5. 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.
  6. Knowledge of negotiation and solution-generating processes, as well as party and participant dynamics, as contextualised by the choice of mediation process/vehicle.
  7. Understanding of the role of a mediator, and the palette of mediator methodology, psychology, core training, and practices.
  8. 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.
  9. Familiarity with methods of formulating solutions, including assessing alternatives (BATNA, WATNA, PATNA, RATNA [3] & preparing client and self for joint/caucus mediation meetings.
  10. Ability to assist parties in separating interests from positions.
  11. Ability to seek and understand the motivations behind individual positions as distinguished from the issues in dispute.
  12. Familiarity with techniques like questioning, summarizing, (active/effective) listening, framing and re-framing, reformulating, reflecting and paraphrasing.
  13. Ability to make strategic choices that can help strike a balance between positional claims that advocate the clients’ interests and creating value based on interests.
  14. Familiarity with cross-cultural settings and dynamics.
  15. Understanding of cross-border and multi-cultural mediation paradigms.
  16. Ability to adapt procedural parameters when dealing with multi-party or complex cases involving numerous participants.
  17. Understanding of professional and ethical standards and behaviors, and the use of ethics in generating, informing and/or setting norms.
  18. Ability to draft settlement agreements as discussed by the parties to the mediation.
  19. Ability to understand and interpret settlement agreements and procedural options.
  20. Ability 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.
  21. Knowledge of problem-solving, interest-based negotiation techniques.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Knowing how to effectively communicate with the mediator, prior to, during and after the mediation sessions.

Mediation Advocacy Practical Skills Requirements

The following areas of practical skills are required for effective Mediation Advocacy.  The list is offered as guidance.

1. Pre-Mediation Stage

A. Case diagnosis and process selection
  1. Conflict diagnosis, including conflict (de)escalation models.
  2. Understanding when a neutral third party can add value in a conflict and assessing the quality of that value.  Being able to convincingly convey that understanding to the client.
  3. Using dispute assessment & risk analysis methodologies.
  4. Identification of relevant parties, stakeholders and participants to the process.
  5. Identifying the most appropriate process.  Skills to assess (cont