Avoiding the credentialing wars: Mediation accreditation in Australia

Sourdin, Tania (2008). Avoiding the credentialing wars: Mediation accreditation in Australia. In: , The Arbitrator & Mediator. Proceedings of: IAMA 2008 National Conference - ADR: The Boom and Beyond. IAMA 2008 National Conference - ADR: The Boom and Beyond, Fremantle, WA, Australia, (21-32). 11-13 April 2008.


Author Sourdin, Tania
Title of paper Avoiding the credentialing wars: Mediation accreditation in Australia
Conference name IAMA 2008 National Conference - ADR: The Boom and Beyond
Conference location Fremantle, WA, Australia
Conference dates 11-13 April 2008
Proceedings title The Arbitrator & Mediator. Proceedings of: IAMA 2008 National Conference - ADR: The Boom and Beyond
Place of Publication Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Publisher The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISSN 1446-0548
Volume 27
Issue 2
Start page 21
End page 32
Total pages 12
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary In recent years, extensive effort has been directed at establishing standards for mediators within Australia. In January 2008, after more than a decade of discussion, the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme (NMAS), which is a voluntary ‘opt in’ scheme, became operational in Australia. The scheme had been developed following years of discussion regarding mediation accreditation and the development of standards in the sector.

The development of this scheme followed increasing attempts 'at codifying what effective mediators should do and what they should know', and trends within the family dispute resolution area, where an accreditation system has been getting phased in since 2007. The accreditation system for family dispute resolution practitioners was developed following changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The stated purposes of that accreditation system are to 'ensure the provision of high quality dispute resolution services, and to recognise the professionalism of the sector.' Regulation 83 of the Family Law Regulations 1984 (Cth) provides for minimum standards of education, training and experience to satisfy the requirements for accreditation. Since 1 July 2007, any practitioners wishing to be accredited under the family scheme are required to meet the new standards. The accreditation requirements will be fully implemented by 1 July 2009, with interim arrangements in place for current practitioners during the transition period.

These Australian developments can be contrasted with developments within the United States that remain fragmented and linked to sectoral interests in the mediation sector. The discussion about mediator accreditation has been more than robust, even being referred to as 'credentialing wars' or 'turf battles'. As remarked by the consultant for a major report in the USA, 'recent developments indicate that credentialing mediators in the name of promoting quality and protecting consumers is clearly a growth industry.' The turf battles arise in part because of the existing professional backgrounds and differences between mediators who are now drawn from the ranks of all professions and all social backgrounds. This has led to different ethical and other interests being promoted by different sectoral interests and also arguably to the creation of different models of mediation that reflect different existing professional backgrounds.
© 2008 The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia
Subjects 180120 Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)
180123 Litigation, Adjudication and Dispute Resolution
Keyword Alternative dispute resolution
Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Additional Notes Programmed as "Session 7: A new era of accreditation for mediators"; Delivered as "The credentialing wars: The quest for an accreditation system for mediators"

 
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Created: Fri, 29 Jan 2010, 14:30:20 EST by Thelma Whitbourne on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research