Mediation is usually considered to be a process in which the participants, with the assistance of the dispute resolution practitioner (the mediator), identify the disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The mediator is usually regarded as having a facilitative role and will not provide advice on the matters in dispute. The mediator may have no particular experience or expertise in the subject area of the dispute but should be expected to be experienced and have expertise in the mediation process itself.
You should be aware that the term ‘mediation’ may sometimes be used differently. For example, it may sometimes be used to refer to a process in which the dispute resolution practitioner gives advice. For clarity and consistency it would be better if such processes were referred to as ‘conciliation’ or ‘advisory mediation’ or ‘evaluative mediation’.
The National Mediator Accreditation System is an overarching national accreditation scheme which provides a minimum level of standards for all mediators. Other specialist mediator accreditation schemes may exist side by side with the NMAS that impose specialist requirements for particular fields such as the family dispute resolution practitioner registration requirements under the Family Law Act 1975.