Choosing a Mediator
Choosing a mediator is key to a successful mediation. All parties to the dispute must agree on the mediator. You can get the names of mediators from:
- Friends or relatives
- Your lawyer
- The Mediate BC Society
- A private mediation service provider or mediation organization or
- The lawyer referral service of the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch
The mediator must not have any personal or business relationship with anyone in the dispute.
While it is often helpful, it is not necessary for the mediator to be expert in the subject matter of the dispute. The mediator’s expertise is in helping to manage the negotiations.
There are no certification programs for mediators that are recognized everywhere. Mediators come from many different backgrounds. Before hiring a mediator, you should ask for information about their training and experience.
It’s also a good idea to ask for résumés and references and to contact more than one mediator before making a decision.
Key questions to ask mediators
What training have they received? (It should be through a well-recognized institution, university, professional or legal organization.)
How long have they been doing mediations? How many cases and what types of cases have they mediated?
What standards of conduct do they abide by? (Mediators on the Mediate BC Society rosters agree to follow the society's standards. Mediators who belong to professional organizations are bound by other codes of conduct.)
What do they charge? What does the fee include? How are travel, administrative and clerical time handled? Does the mediator charge for an initial consultation?
Can the mediator provide a neutral location where the mediation session will take place? What is the charge for this service?
Does the mediator think the dispute is appropriate for mediation? Should some other form of dispute resolution be considered?
After agreeing on a mediator, everyone participating should sign an agreement setting-out the ground rules for mediation. An agreement to mediate (PDF) addresses important issues, including information sharing, confidentiality and fees. All people involved in the dispute should receive a copy of the agreement.
If you cannot agree on whom the mediator will be:
- Use the Mediate BC Society website to help with the selection
- Contact a mediation organization or service provider for help