Vision and Mission

Vision

Professional Mediation Worldwide: Promoting Consensus and Access to Justice

Mission

1. Set and achieve high mediation standards

IMI via its Independent Standards Commission and associated Task Forces collaborate to create standards for mediation worldwide. IMI then certifies 'Qualifying Assessment Programs', which in turn certify Mediators and Mediation Advocates against these established standards, enhancing the practice of mediation and thereby improving consensus and access to justice.

2. Convene stakeholders and parties
Through initiatives such as the Global Pound Conference Series and ongoing Global Pound Conversation, IMI has gathered data generated by stakeholders and parties which is being used to improve mediation practice and implementation around the globe.  See also IMI's 'Initiatives'.
3. Promote understanding and adoption of mediation
IMI works together with national and international bodies to promote understanding of and adoption of mediation.  See our 'Initiatives' section.
4. Disseminate skills for parties, counsel and mediators

Members of IMI's working Board provide ad hoc skills training for mediation stakeholders. IMI's Training and Assessment Task Force has established standards for skills training in this area.

The Mission of the International Mediation Institute

IMI is the only organisation in the world to adopt an international Vision and Mission for mediation. IMI is a non-profit charity registered in The Hague, supported practically and financially by corporate users and by a group comprising the main international ADR service providers. IMI aims to address the needs of all stakeholders, starting with usersi.e. disputants. This requires also understanding the interests of the other players in the dispute resolution fieldmediators, conciliators, law firms and others that advise users, adjudicators such as judges and arbitrators, service-providing organisations, trainers and educators, and policy-makers. IMI does not compete with any other body because it does not sell any product and provides no billable services. The organisation is funded entirely by donations (see 'Funding' and 'Charity Status').

Setting Mediation Standards Globally

Quality is critical if mediation is to grow and be used by disputants. Mediation is not a recognised independent profession in any country of the world, meaning virtually anybody can call themselves a 'mediator'. IMI has set out to change that through the transparent establishement of high competency standards that enable users to know that when they select a mediator, they are procuring the services of a quality professional who has the skills to assist them in resolving their dispute.  (See 'Competency Criteria' for an overview.)

IMI's quality standards are established and maintained by IMI's Independent Standards Commission (ISC), a 70+ strong body of users including highly-experienced mediators, leading judges, providers, trainers and educators from 27 countries. The standards are applied in practice by service provider organisations that are approved by the ISC to run 'Qualifying Assessment Programs' (QAPs). QAPs then assess and qualify experienced and competent mediators for IMI Certification. There are
currently over 500 IMI Certified Mediators in 45 countries. All members of the ISC and all QAPs are listed on the IMI website at www.IMImediation.org.

Through requiring an independently-collated 'Feedback Digest' as part of all IMI Certified profiles, a given mediator's ongoing competency is assessed and validated by the community they serve.

IMI's Unique Value Propositions

  1. The Feedback Digest is one of the value propositions behind IMI's certification scheme. Increasingly, providers and policy makers are appreciating the value of transparency into skills and competencies in this field.
  2. IMI is the only body setting practice standards for mediators on a global scale, and the only body promoting mediation as a dispute resolution and deal-making process globally. IMI has established a series of international task forces that help to drive mediation into new areas internationally, such as investor-State dispute resolution, which until now was only addressed by arbitration.
  3. IMI convenes stakeholders and provides a platform where they can work together on policy developments that will advance the development of mediation.

Stakeholder Value

For Disputants

The adoption of common international standards in mediation means users can rely on objective and proven quality standards and assessment criteria to make an informed decision on choosing a mediator, rather than relying on word-of-mouth, hearsay, directory listings, self-proclamations by mediators, or other notoriously unreliable methods. It means greater confidence in
suggesting mediation to another party (or agreeing to a proposal), and that making a suitable choice between mediators is made much easier. Ultimately it means lower costs and risks, and less time focusing on process aspectsleaving more opportunity to manage the conflict itself.

Mediators and mediation service providers

IMI standards improve prospects for organisations qualifying for QAP status. Mediators accredited via these QAPs will be able to deliver better results for users, in turn building the reputation of both those mediators and their Qualifying organisation.  Additionally, by improving access to quality mediators, mediation becomes more trusted and widely used, translating into more business for mediators and service providers. The IMI 'find a mediator' tool extends the reach of mediators to a wider constituency of users.

Professional firms

IMI standards make it easier for law firms and other professional advisers to suggest mediation as a viable tool for their clients. Sustainable solutions reached through mediation help legal advisers to be perceived as solution providers who
strive for the best and fastest outcome to a conflict (in terms of risk, quality of result, reputation, relationships, costs, and time). Legal counsel accredited as IMI Certified Mediation Advocates distinguish themselves from their competitors, leading to repeat business as a representative acting in the best interests of their client.

Regulators

When a profession is properly self-regulated, the regulator can focus on protecting users. In the case of mediation, this includes enshrining confidentiality and privilege in law, supporting and implementing ethics considerations, encouraging mediation in court process and the enforceability of settlements. This enables a balance to be struck between the responsibility of the profession to self-regulate efficiently and the role of the regulator in protecting the interests of users.

What else has been achieved?

IMI has published a Code of Professional Conduct for Mediators, which is backed up by a disciplinary process, similar to any other leading profession. IMI has established criteria for IMI Inter-Cultural Certification (launched April 2012) and for IMI Certified Mediation Advocates. Mediation training materials are being made available to trainers and educators in countries where mediation is largely undeveloped.  IMI has developed several tools for users, which are available on the IMI web portalfor example, the online case analysis tool Olé enables users and their advisers to analyse any case to determine objectively the most appropriate dispute resolution options. This tool was made available as a result of a grant from the GE Foundation.

IMI makes all informative materials and tools available to everyone copyright-free.

IMI also has an active Young Mediators' Initiative (YMI) that enables aspiring mediators to gain experience by assisting established mediators in real mediations.

The Future

Mediation has come a long way since the Pound Conference in 1976, but still has much further to go. Mediation must develop into a widely-recognised, independent profession, in order to be accepted as the preferred and automatic way to resolve disputes when negotiations fail. This means that a single set of high-level competency and practice standards need to be adopted around the world.

Mediation needs to be far better promoted if it is to be far better understood and accepted. It begins with competency standards but does not end there. Mediated settlements need to be internationally enforceable, like arbitral awards. Governments need to use
mediation as the prime way to resolve disputes. Users need to see the value of using mediators to make deals. Providers need to be more transparent and to come together to expand the use of mediation.

IMI sets out to achieve all these things and more. It needs everyone in the dispute resolution field to support this Vision and this Mission.