What is mediation?

Mediation is a process in which the participants, with the support of the mediator, identify issues, develop options, consider alternatives and make decisions about future actions and outcomes. The mediator acts as a third party to support participants to reach their own decision.

Role of Mediator

Mediators do not advise upon, evaluate or determine disputes. They assist in managing the process of dispute and conflict resolution whereby the participants agree upon the outcomes, when appropriate.


Mediation processes are primarily facilitative processes. The mediator provides assistance in managing a process which supports the participants to make decisions about future actions and outcomes. Some mediators may also use a 'blended process' that involves mediation and incorporates an advisory component or a process that involves the provision of expert information and advice. These processes are sometimes referred to as “evaluative mediation” or “conciliation”. Such processes may involve the provision of expert information and advice, provided it is given in a manner that enhances the principle of self-determination and provided that the participants request that such advice be given.

The Standards

The NMAS is comprised of two standards that are both applicable to mediators: the Approval Standards for mediators seeking accreditation (or renewal), and the Practice Standards which apply to accredited mediators in their day to day practice.

What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR is an umbrella term for processes, other than judicial determination, in which an impartial person (an ADR practitioner) assists those in a dispute to resolve the issues between them. ADR is commonly used as an abbreviation for alternative dispute resolution, but can also mean assisted or appropriate dispute resolution. The main types of ADR are mediation, arbitration and conciliation.

ADR processes may be facilitative, advisory, determinative or, in some cases, a combination of these. The ADR practitioner in a facilitative process, such as mediation, uses a variety of methods to assist parties to identify issues and reach an agreement about the dispute. Advisory processes, such as conciliation or expert appraisal, employ a practitioner to more actively advise the parties about the issues and range of possible outcomes. A process can be selected to best suit a particular dispute. There is currently no comprehensive legislative framework for the operation of ADR in Australia. Many different laws govern the operation of ADR in the different Australian jurisdictions. The MSB acknowledges the former National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC) for its work on this definition.

What is the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)?

The NMAS is a national accreditation scheme which provides a minimum level of standards of training and assessment for all mediators.

Other mediator accreditation schemes that impose specialist requirements for particular fields may exist together with the NMAS; for example, the family dispute resolution practitioner registration requirements under the Family Law Act 1975. For information regarding mediators who are accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners please click here.

Why Choose an Accredited Mediator?

When you chose an accredited mediator:

  • the mediator has been accredited by a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body (RMAB).
  • the mediator is required to comply with the Approval Standards and the Practice Standards and any relevant legislation.
  • the RMAB is satisfied that the mediator has evidence of competence taking into account their qualifications, training and experience.
  • for the mediator to maintain their accredited status they must reapply for accreditation every 2 years
  • the RMAB has obtained evidence that the mediator maintains professional insurance (either individually or via their employer)
  • the RMAB has obtained evidence that the mediator is of good character
  • if you wish to provide feedback or make a complaint, the RMAB has a process for receiving your feedback or complaint, and the mediator is subject to a disciplinary process where that is appropriate.

Find an Accredited Mediator

To find a mediator who is accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS), contact an RMAB for assistance. To find out whether a particular mediator is nationally accredited, search the Register of Nationally Accredited Mediators.