Part 3 | How to find the right mediator?

One of the advantages of out-of-court mediation is that the parties themselves can choose who will mediate. Finding the right lawyer can be difficult enough – finding a suitable mediator can be even more difficult. But if you choose the wrong mediator, it quickly becomes expensive and time-consuming to change later.


This is the third and last article in a series where you get an insight into what mediation actually is.

The foundation for the mediator’s business is the trust of the parties. The mediator’s independence and suitability must be beyond doubt. Therefore, the mediator must act in a trust-inspiring manner and create a predictable framework for the process. Mediation requires different qualities than the role of lawyer or judge.

Certain types of case require special characteristics of the mediator. Mediation in contract disputes requires different expertise than mediation in family disputes. An advantage of out-of-court mediation is that the parties themselves can choose who will mediate, in contrast to judicial mediation. But what should the parties look for and where should they look?

Mediation expertise: In our experience, a mediator should have basic general mediation expertise. It can be obtained through certification as a mediator, or other equivalent education. Next comes experience. Mediation is not an exact science, and a mediator is never completely trained.

Personal suitability: In addition to mediation expertise, it is also important that the mediator has personal suitability, for example by acting in a trust-building and conflict-reducing manner. Suitability also has a special, or individually adapted, side: even the best mediators are not suitable for every party or dispute.

Professional knowledge: Finally, it is an advantage if the mediator has good knowledge of the subject area in question. In the case of a commercial dispute, a mediator with expertise in the relevant area of ​​law will more quickly see what challenges the parties are facing, and what opportunities the parties have not already considered.

For a successful mediation, it is important that the parties take the time to find a mediator they are comfortable with. This applies especially in international cases where the parties have backgrounds from different legal traditions and cultures.

Simone Häderle Ingeberg, partner at SANDS

Use of a co-mediator: In larger disputes, it may be appropriate to appoint both a mediator and a co-mediator. A good solution would be for the mediator to bring in mediation experience, while the co-mediator contributes with professional knowledge – for example, an engineer in a contract case.

The advantage of certification: There are a number of lawyers, as well as economists and others, who take assignments as mediators in out-of-court mediations. Many of these are certified as mediators by the Norwegian Bar Association and are listed on or More information about them can normally be found on the website of the company the person works for. Certification is not a necessary condition but implies that the mediator has undergone relevant training and quality control.

Test the chemistry: It may also make sense to have a short conversation with the candidate in question before they are appointed as a mediator. Through such a conversation, one can assess whether the person in question has the right expertise, sufficient mediation experience, the necessary personal qualities - and not least the capacity to prepare and carry out the mediation within the desired time frame. In addition, questions of competence must of course be clarified.


Our certified mediators can help you resolve conflicts in a constructive way. Contact us to get more information.

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