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The choice of mediation as a dispute resolution option links closely to the identity of a mediator who conducts it. This follows from the circumstances: different models of mediation exist, mediators have a lot of discretion in a flexible procedure, and the mediator's professional background and personal style have enormous potential impacts on the nature of the service provided. These factors make the selection of mediators of real practical significance.

The term "choice of mediator" implies a process of deliberation and decision-making. No formal mechanism for objecting to the appointment of particular mediators exists, but in practice the parties could ask mediators to withdraw for reasons of conflict of interest. In community mediation programs the director generally assigns mediators without party involvement. The following are useful ways of selecting a mediator:

  • Personal Attributes - qualities and characteristics which are innate, as opposed to skills and techniques which can be learned and developed. In this concept a number of desirable attributes for mediators include interpersonal skills, patience, empathy, intelligence, optimism and flexibility.

  • Mediation qualifications, experience and background - qualifications usually revolve around knowledge of the theory and practice of conflict, negotiation and mediation, mediations skills, and attitudes appropriate for mediation. There are three factors of relevance: experience in practice of mediation, experience in the substantive area of dispute and personal life experience.

    • mediator's training
    • mediator's professional background
    • mediator's certification and its value
    • mediation model offered, and whether it suits the case
    • any conflict of interest the mediator may have
    • mediator's willingness to encourage mediation participants to seek creative solutions
    • mediator's fee
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