NMAS Accreditation FAQs

The Australian National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) was introduced on 1 January 2008. It is an industry-based scheme, which relies on voluntary compliance by mediation organisations that agree to accredit mediators in accordance with the requisite standards.

The NMAS is intended to provide a base level of accreditation for all mediators irrespective of their fields of work. Being nationally accredited provides an assurance of quality.

As a condition of ongoing approval, mediators must comply with the National Practice Standards and every two years seek re-approval in accordance with the National Approval Standards.

The Australian Disputes Centre supports best practice in mediation. Under the NMAS, the Australian Disputes Centre acts as an accreditation body, taking on the role of a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body (RMAB).

Under the NMAS, a mediator who does not have recognised previous experience and is not considered “experience qualified” must achieve accreditation as follows:

  • Complete a mediation education and training course of at least 38 hours duration that satisfies specific criteria.
  • Complete an assessment which meets specific criteria, including a 1.5 hour mediation simulation that gives rise to a detailed written report about the mediator’s competence. (ADC’s mediation training and accreditation programme satisfies all NMAS criteria.)
  • All ADC Accredited Mediators are eligible to apply to the Australian Disputes Centre for National Mediator Accreditation under the “newly qualified” mediator category.

What are the Accreditation Renewal Requirements?

Section 3 (1) of the Approval Standards contains the “Accreditation Renewal Requirements”.  It states that mediators must satisfy the Australian Disputes Centre that they continue to meet the approval requirements and the mediator must provide evidence that they have within each two year cycle:

  1. Sufficient practice experience by showing that they have either:
    1. Conducted at least 25 hours of mediation, co-mediation or conciliation within the two-year cycle; or,
    2. Where a mediator is unable to provide such evidence for due to lack of work opportunities, health or career circumstances or residence in non-urban or CALD communities, must have completed at least 10 hours of mediation, co-mediation or conciliation and must attend such supplementary training, coaching and/ or assessment as ADC considers necessary, in addition to the continuing professional development requirements (CPD).

And

  1. Have completed at least 25 hours of CPD in every two-year cycle that can be made up as follows:
    1. Participating in Education (up to 20 hours): This means participating in formal structured activities such as training seminars and workshops (up to 20 hours) or attending conferences (up to 15 hours)
    2. Reflecting on Practice (up to 15 hours): This means receiving professional supervision or coaching or participating in structured peer-based reflection on mediation cases
    3. Providing Professional Development (up to 15 hours): This means delivering presentations on mediation or related topics, including two hours of preparation time for each hour delivered, or providing professional supervision, assessment, coaching or mentoring of mediator trainees and mediators
    4. Credit for related professional CPD (up to 10 hours): This means hours of CPD completed to maintain professional licensing or accreditation related to their mediation practice, such as in law or in the behavioral or social sciences or in professional field in which they mediate, such as building or engineering.
    5. Learning from Practice (up to 8 hours): This means participating in up to four mediations as a client representative or in formal learning capacity (up to 2 hours per mediation) or role-playing for trainee mediators and candidates for mediator assessment (up to 2 hours per simulation).
    6. Self-directed Learning (up to 5 hours): This means private study such as reading, listening to or viewing pre-recorded content such as podcast, or writing articles or books relevant to mediation that are published in recognized journals or by recognized publishers.
    7. Other (up to 5 hours): This means such other activities as may be approved by the MSB on application by ADC.

IMPORTANT

National Mediator Accreditation is for a period of two years. As a condition of ongoing approval, mediators must comply with the Practice Standards and seek re-approval in accordance with the Approval Standards every two years.

It is your responsibility to remember when your accreditation expires and when you need to complete an application form for re-accreditation. These forms are available on the Australian Disputes Centre website.

The Australian Disputes Centre will not send you a reminder


A. Good Character

Under the NMAS, a mediator manages processes aimed at maximising the participants’ own decision-making. The mediator must have the personal qualities and appropriate life, social and work experience to conduct the process in an impartial, ethical and professional manner. The National Standards specify that RMAB’s require mediators who apply to be accredited to provide evidence of “good character”.

You will need to provide references from two people who have known you for more than three years who can attest to the following:

“I have known Applicant for more than three years and regard him/her to be of good character. I believe him/her to be honest and fair with reference to his/her social and/or work life.”

You must declare that you are:

  1. Without any criminal conviction or impairment that could influence my capacity to discharge your obligations as a mediator in a competent, honest and professional manner.
  2. That to the best of your knowledge and belief that you are not a “prohibited person” (or its equivalent) as defined in a particular jurisdiction.
  3. That you have not been disqualified to practice by another professional association relating to any other profession (for example, a Law Society or a Medical Association).
  4. That you have not been refused NMAS accreditation or accreditation renewal or had their accreditation suspended or cancelled.

Download a template reference from a member of your professional community here

Download a template reference from a member of your professional or social community here

B. Compliance

The National Standards require that applicants for national accreditation must undertake to ADC that they comply with any relevant legislation.

You must have also read and understood your obligations under the National Mediator Practice and Approval Standards https://msb.org.au/

C. Insurance

The National Standards require that applicants for national accreditation provide ADC with evidence of their current status in respect of their insurance, indemnity or employed status requirements.

D. Blended Processes

The National Mediator Standards recognise that some mediators offer services that involve a “blended” process, such as conciliation or advisory and evaluative mediations. In these models, the mediator offers specialised advice such as in legal, building or financial matters. There are additional requirements for mediators who offer blended processes. Applicants who seek to offer specialised advice through the use of a “blended” process must provide evidence to ADC of the items listed below. If you only give advice about the dispute resolution process then you may advise so.

IMPORTANT

ADC has the discretion to suspend a mediator and remove their name from the National Register in circumstances where it believes, on the balance of probabilities, that there has been non-compliance with the Practice Standards, other relevant ethical guidelines or professional requirements or the Approval Standards.

In relation to any suspension and removal, ADC will inform the mediator within 14 days of its concerns and provide the mediator with an opportunity to respond to ADC.

  • If you wish to complete your NMAS accreditation then please send your expression of interest to ADC-Associate@disputescentre.com
  • If you have any queries, please contact ADC at:
    Email:  ADC-Associate@disputescentre.com
    Phone: 61 2 9239 0700