Archive for the ‘Standards’ Category

I’m pleased to add here the recent information from the IMI on the survey, which I last noted in my December entry, last year. This is the memo from IMI:

We are pleased to share with you the results of the IMI 2016 International Mediation & ADR Survey, which are now published on the IMI Portal:


In total, 815 participants completed this census survey, from mediation users, mediators, advisors, educators, students, providers and other stakeholders. The survey was designed to gather census data as well as views about Mediation & ADR Awareness. As statistical data in this area is still largely in its infancy, the results were particularly insightful and eye opening.

We very much appreciate the time and participation of all survey respondents. Their insight into conciliatory methods is of particular value to the Alternative Dispute Resolution community at a time when conflicts between businesses, governments and individuals are rapidly escalating on numerous fronts.

Certainly as IMI approaches its 10th anniversary, this information (and the many additional written comments submitted with this overview) will help us to prioritise efforts to raise the profile of mediation and ADR around the world. We hope the survey also inspires you to generate ideas in your own communities on how to continue to grow mediation and ADR as a viable alternative to drawn out legal proceedings.

Kind regards,

Ute A. Joas Quinn and the Survey Team
International Mediation Institute


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The International Mediation Institute is conducting its biennial survey on mediation use and awareness. Your responses will assist in gathering a snapshot of mediation use:

Academia, business and governments universally declare mediation the most cost-effective and quickest manner to resolve conflicts. But do the majority of civil and commercial players even know the practical aspects of this game changer enough to use it with confidence? Have we done our best to let them know?

(see link at the bottom of the page)

The International Mediation Institute (IMI) invites YOU and YOUR COLLEAGUES to participate in a brief biennial survey to gather information about Mediation & ADR Awareness, IMI Performance, and YOU. IMI launches initiatives to promote worldwide growth of practical and sustainable conflict resolution systems. By completing the survey we can:

  • Find out what matters most to you about resolving conflicts,
  • Tell others what you are up against when it comes to conflict management,
  • Grow mediation by building awareness and support, and
  • Enhance the IMI organization to make it fit for YOUR needs.

Please forward the survey to people whose opinion you value!

If you participate in the survey by December 31, 2015 and leave your contact details at the end of the Survey, you will be included in a drawing for a free entrance into one of the unique IMI Global Pound Conference Seriesevents of your choosing in any of 36 cities in 26 countries (see http://globalpoundconference.org/) as our way of thanking you for making the time to give us your input.

Survey results will be sent to all who include their contact details in advance of being posted on the IMI Webportal.

We appreciate your time and participation.

About the International Mediation Institute (“IMI”)

IMI is a non-profit public interest initiative to grow mediation by driving transparency

and high competency standards into mediation practice across all fields, worldwide.
The basics of IMI in a Nutshell can be found here: 





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From the Ministry of Law’s website: http://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/press-releases/icmwg-recommendations.html –

1.            The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) welcomes recommendations made by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) to develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.  This will add to Singapore’s vibrant dispute resolution sector that has been growing on the back of a significant rise in commercial transactions in Asia and the corresponding increase in the number and complexity of cross-border disputes.

Recommendations by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group

2.            The ICMWG submitted its recommendations on 29 November 2013.  The recommendations include:

a)    Quality Standards – Establish a professional body to set standards and provide accreditation for  mediators;

b)    International Mediation Services – Establish an international mediation service provider which will offer as part of its service offerings, a quality panel of international mediators and experts, as well as user-centric innovative products and services;

c)    Legislative Framework – Enact a Mediation Act to strengthen the framework for mediation in Singapore;

d)    Exemptions and Incentives – Extend existing tax exemptions and incentives applicable for arbitration, to mediation; and

e)    Judicial Support – Enhance rules and Court processes to encourage greater use of mediation.

3.            Co-Chair of the ICMWG, Mr Edwin Glasgow QC said, “With its excellent legal system, infrastructure, connectivity and geographical location, Singapore is ideally placed to be the centre of excellence for international commercial mediation.  The feedback we have already received from international players and corporate users has been extremely positive. I hope and believe that the Working Group’s recommendations will help Singapore to acquire in respect of international commercial mediation, the reputation which it already unquestionably enjoys in the equally important field of arbitration.”

4.            Co-Chair Mr George Lim SC said, “By building up Singapore’s mediation capabilities and expertise, particularly to deal with international commercial disputes, commercial users will be able to choose from a full spectrum of dispute resolution services, ranging from facilitative mediation to binding arbitration.  This will enable users to tap on the dispute resolution process that best addresses their specific needs.  I believe that mediation, where successful, can help commercial parties save considerable time, costs and achieve flexible, mutually acceptable solutions to otherwise seemingly intractable disputes.”

5.            The Chief Justice and Minister for Law have expressed their appreciation to the Working Group for the work and effort put into this review.  MinLaw will follow up with the relevant stakeholders to see how the various recommendations can be implemented.  A summary of the ICMWG’s recommendations is at Annex A.


6.            In April 2013, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Ministry of Law appointed Mr Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and Mr George Lim SC to co-chair a nine-member working group to propose plans to develop the international commercial mediation space in Singapore.  The group comprised international and local members to provide a wide range of expertise and views.

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Here’s an invitation from IMI:

Dear Young Mediator,
Earlier this year we were in contact with you in regards to the Young Mediators Initiative (YMI), which was established with the intention of encouraging and assisting young mediators worldwide to generate experience and to create a network where young mediators can communicate with each other and local networks.
We aim to launch the YMI website in August, so would like to invite you to become part of the YM Initiative!
You can view the criteria for joining YMI in the attached document. If you would like to join, just send an email to YMImediation@IMImediation.org and we will send you an email with your log in details.
Every young mediator will be able to build a profile in the YMI system so that mentors can have the opportunity to invite them to be assistants/observers in their mediations.
YMI aims to support young mediator groups – please feel free to share the information about YMI with your local groups that support young mediators and also with friends or colleagues who might be interested in hearing about YMI, both as young or experienced mediators.
We hope you will join YMI and be part of the mission to make mediation a recognised profession! Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: YMImediation@IMImediation.org
Kind regards,
Your YMI Team
we connect – we encourage – we facilitate
Emma Ewart (IMI, New Zealand);
Angela Herberholz (ICC Dispute Resolution Service – ADR Secretariat, France);
Marc Kraus (Master Student, The Netherlands);
Pia Bihlmaier (ICC Training and Conferences, France);
Garrett Parks (Davis Wright Tremaine, USA); and
Grellan Kelly (Experienced Mediator, Ireland).

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The Inter-Cultural Taskforce of the IMI Independent Standards Commission
(ISC) <http://imimediation.org/intercultural-taskforce> , after a year of
meetings and consultation, is publishing  for comment Draft Criteria for the
planned IMI Inter-Cultural Competency Certification of Mediators.

Organisations approved by the ISC as an Inter-Cultural Qualifying Assessment
Program (ICQAP) will assess mediators for their mastery of inter-cultural
dynamics and qualify mediators for IMI Inter-Cultural Certification. The
launch of this new initiative is planned for late 2011 following a public
consultation period and testing of the criteria in a pilot program.

This initiative has attracted much interest and support from users,
mediators, trainers and providers and will be presented at the Annual Spring
Conference of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution in Denver in April 2011.

Comments on the criteria are invited by April 30, 2011 and can be sent to
intercultural@IMImediation.org. All comments received will be greatly
appreciated and individually acknowledged.

To read the draft Criteria, click here

<http://imimediation.org/intercultural-certification-criteria> To download
the draft Criteria in PDF, click here

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This is too grand a title for a brief blog entry, but I want to capture a question that has come up in a number of blogs in the ADR blogosphere, relating to this diversity and to the question of standards (especially standards of entry to the hallowed halls of professional mediator status).

Had I been diligent about this blog, I would also have taken the laptop or netbook with me to Ho Chi Minh City last weekend – but was saved from that obligation by (i) a preference not to risk the Mac and (ii) the fact that the power unit on the netbook had failed and (iii) a preference to be disconnected for a few days! But there’s more to be said another time about some of the more obvious things we might note in the varieties of mediation when we venture across the borders. I’m reminded also of a friend and colleague who went to Cambodia a few years back to assist in mediation training only to find that it was necessary to spend some time at the outset finding a word in Khmer that equated with mediation – and the closest that could be found was the word that described the role of the person who acted as go-between in the marriage arrangement business.

Discussions of standards typically lead us in the direction of the recognition of those who have been mediating for far longer than the ‘field’ has been in existence, but whose qualifications might not pass muster as they haven’t been certified by a provider or university or other agency. There’s no easy pass on this question.

But the other question that comes up – and did so again in a conversation here in Singapore – is less about the established mediator who now might not qualify, than about the qualities that a mediator is expected to have and display when working in some contexts. All the more so when the expectation of standards is a degree of universality and transferability. The issue is this (again, as it has come up before in this blog): if our expectations of mediator competence relate principally to process and intervention skills, what it the position when – as here – the mediator is expected to provide substantive guidance and suggestions; and a merely facilitative mediator (albeit highly competent on conventional criteria) would not be seen as competent or even useful by the parties. After all, in Singapore and perhaps even more so in neighbouring states, the expectation is that the mediator is a more active party in the search for solutions.

In the context is which this question arises – in commercial and financial mediation – the issue is in large part addressed by ensuring that mediators are, like arbitrators, subject specialists and not (merely) process specialists. Thus the mediator can and does provide specific guidance and direction towards outcomes.

This is probably nothing new to the more evaluative mediators [see http://www.mediate.com/articles/zumeta.cfm] – even though it may remain the case that evaluative mediators are more likely to be Devil’s advocates than the model I’m thinking of here.

So, the question: if we’re looking at international standards, how will they accommodate the quite different expectations that parties have of the ‘competence’ of a mediator, where those expectations are culturally shaped, especially in the context of more hierarchical societies in which, if fact, the mediator is a person whose competence might well be measured in terms of his or her authoritative actions?

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This is the first of what’s going to need to be an occasional foray into this question of standards in mediation. It’s not a new question – over at least the last decade, various mediation governmental advisory bodies have sought to deal either with uniform standards or with more specific guidelines on elements of mediation practice and ethics (such as confidentiality, mediatory neutrality etc). The increased visibility and adoption of mediation – and its emergence, at last, from the “alternative” hideout – means that there is an understandable concern about competence. Leading this current push is the International Mediation Institute [http://www.imimediation.org/] – and in the interests of transparency I need to disclose that I’m a member of the Independent Standards Commission. In the further interests of same: none of these comments in any way represent the views of the IMI or the ISC.

This is just a bit of thinking out loud, and a hope that other mediators might chip in, especially from the parts of the world that typically don’t feed into the conventions and standards of mediation.

At this stage, I raise just one question about the idea and interpretation of “competence” – and in fact it’s a question of two parts. First, the inquiry into standards of competence is directed towards the quality and qualifications of mediators – understandably. But there’s another aspect of competence that seems central to mediation principles and philosophy – and that is the competence and capacities of the disputants. One aim of mediation – it seems to me – is to work with parties not only on the current dispute but also on their ongoing resources and capacities in disputing and problem solving generally. So, if we’re concerned with the question of competence in mediation, we might need to take in this wider inquiry. [Of course we’ve also met the pragmatic and ‘practical’ mediators who will insist that this is not part of the job – or at best is only an incidental side benefit of participation in mediation.]

The second aspect of the competence question is the more specifically cultural one: if, as seems the case, we’ve concerned to develop international standards of competence and quality control, what differences in cultural perceptions and priorities need to be taken into account? At the very least, we need to be aware of the distinction drawn by intercultural researchers between “acquired” and “ascribed” status and standing: for the first, competence is measured by qualifications and “expertise”; for the second, competence is derived from social standing, age, and perceived experience. These do not necessarily blend into each other.

This raises a third sub-issue – and one that will in due course be addressed by the IMI: the criteria of intercultural competence, as a specific aspect of the basic concern with mediator competence. On this, see a recent article by FonsTrompenaars and Peter Woolliams on transcultural competence: http://www.trompenaars.com/Articles/A%20New%20Unified%20Model%20of%20Trans-Cultural%20Competence%20(PW_FT).pdf. I note especially their comment:

We thus begin to understand why there are numerous definitions of good leadership. You read Warren Bennis and you find it is all about vision, mission and transparency. You go to the French literature and read how great leaders are functions of their educational background. Compare with the Asian literature that suggest you should be male, senior and from the University of Tokyo.”

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