Mi logo (1)

The Dispute Resolution
Training and Membership Specialists

Tel: 1300 781 533 

The NMAS Review: Progress Updates

Finger, Feedback, Report Back-3653375.Jpg

NMAS Review > Australian Mediation and Dispute Resolution System (AMDRAS)

Letter from the Mediator Standards Board Chair, Peter Condliffe

The Mediator Standards Board Chair, Peter Condliffe released a letter on the 14th March 2024 providing an update on the transition to the AMDRAS.  

You can read the letter by clicking on the link below. 

The culmination of the review process and introduction of AMDRAS represents an important evolution of mediator accreditation, training and practice in the Australian dispute resolution landscape. Once settled and operating the system will hopefully continue to evolve and be adaptable to the changing requirements of a more diverse and complex environment. The combination of a decentralised system with adherence to a core set of principles has served the Australian community well since 2008 and we believe will continue to do so through AMDRAS.


Key Points

  • Background – Peter provides some background context. You can also scroll down this post which we have been updating when new information is released throughout this process

Key Features of the AMDRAS

  •  The Certificate of Training will provide the first step towards accreditation and is also appropriate for those who wish to learn mediators skills with no immediate intention to become accredited and practicing mediators.  The time required will increase from 38 to 45 hours. Alternative training pathways will continue to be considered. 
  • AMDRAS will introduce the possibility for specialisations to be recognised and the board is inviting interested sectors of the dispute resolution community to work with the board to articulate these specialisations.  
  • Levels of Accreditation will be introduced:
    • Accredited Mediator – for those recently accredited or providing mediation infrequently, 
    • Advanced Mediator – this level can be sought after 4 years of accredited practice and 150 practice hours plus the completion of a practicum or equivalent course or evidence of advanced and reflective practice. 
    • Leading Mediator – this level can be sought after 6 years as an Advanced Mediator and 250 hours of practice or equivalnet through alternative pathways. It is expected that leading mediators will be performing a leadership role including by mentoring and supervising less expeirenced mediators and practitioners. 
  • A non-practicing certificate will be available for those who want to take a break from their practice for a longer period than that provided for in the 12 months leave of absence under NMAS. 
  • Greater guidance will be provided by the AMDRAS regarding training, continuing professional development, complaints handling and ethics in response to the requests for this guidance in the consultation undertaken during the reseach phase of this update to the system. 

Transition Period

The MSB will be publishing guidelines to assist with the transition from NMAS to AMDRAS for each of the major stakeholder groups:

  • Accredited Mediators NMAS who will become AMDRAS Recognised Practitioners
  • RMABs who will become Recognised Training Providers (RTP) and Recognised Assessment Providers (RAP)
  • Transition guidelines which will include a period of 12 months to complete the transition from NMAS to AMDRAS for all stakeholders with the opportunity to complete the process under the NMAS provisions for those who have commenced NMAS training during the transition period. 

Article from the Mediator Standards Board

The Mediator Standards Board released an article on the 21st February 2024 providing an update on the progress of the NMAS Review. 

You can read the article on the Mediator Standards Board website. 

Consultation Stage

The DRAFT AMDRAS was released and a consultation phase followed with webinars and private consultations with key stakeholders with an interest in the National Mediator Accreditation System.  

You can view the released 1st Draft documents here – 

These are intended to replace the existing NMAS Standards. However, after reading you will notice that many of the key features of the existing Standards has been retained.   Also note that there are five appendices to the new Standards but only four of these have been included in this release.

The Board are still working on Appendix 5 concerned with “Complaints Handling.” The Board would welcome comments on the Draft document, and it is intended that there be a consultation process with members and the ADR community over the next six (6) months.

DRAFT AMDRAS V1 – with appendices 1 – 4Download

[NEW] DRAFT AMDRAS Appendix 5 – Complaints Handling –Download

AMDRAS Review Response Form –Download

Comparison Document – NMAS and AMDRAS – August 2023 –Download

Due date for comments: 20 December 2023 to info@msb.org.au

Training and Assessment Summary Release

22nd August 2023

The summary document introduces some of the major changes proposed in the Australian Mediation and Dispute Resolution System (AMDRAS) which is to replace the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)

Levels of Accreditation

The new Standards will provide for three levels of professional accreditation:

• Accredited Mediator,
• Advanced Mediator, and
• Leading Mediator.

In addition, there will be a further accreditation category of Specialist Practitioner open to those who hold one of the three Mediator levels.

Accredited Mediator

This is the basic level for those seeking to become Mediators under the AMDRAS.

The training and assessment requirements are identified in the new standards and expanded in the Training and Assessment Appendix to the standards.

Some of the key points are:

  • the training course will increase from 38 to 45 hours duration
  • the theory half of the course is made up of four professional domains:
    • Knowledge
    • Skills
    • Ethics and Responsibilities
    • Professional Development
  • Successful completion of the training course will lead to a Certificate of Training (COT)
  • Assessment is a separate process and includes a 2 hour role play and written assessment requirements. Successful completion of the Assessment will result in a Certificate of Assessment (COA) being issued.
Read the full summary for more of the detail (this is not the DRAFT AMDRAS, it’s just a brief summary) 

Advanced Mediator

Advanced mediator is a new level of accreditation being proposed.
Some key points include:
  • available for mediators who have held accreditation for two years or more
  • Successful completion of a course called a Practicum Certificate is required
  • The Practicum Certificate is issued following a 12 hour workshop (can be delivered in modules) which focuses on reflective practice through the delivery and discussion of a case study. 
  • the practice hours and other requirements are specified in the Training and Assessment Framework

Leading Mediator

Leading mediators are the highest level of recognition as a mediator. 

Standard requirments include hours of practice, years of experience and the provision of training, mentoring and related support for other practitioners.

There is also the option to use this category to recognise outstanding contributions to the profession.

Specialist Practitioners

Another major change proposed in the AMDRAS is the introduction of the Specialist Practitioner category.

This is for mediators who also have a specialist area of practice.

These categories will be developed over time through a collaborative effort between the board and those seeking their area of practice to be recognised for a Specialist Practitioner category.

Download the summary for more information.

31st May 2023 – update from Christopher Boyle – Mediator Standards Board Chair

A further update regarding the progress of the NMAS review was released by the Mediator Standards Board today. You can read the full release on the Mediator Standards Board Website in the Newsletters section – https://msb.org.au/publications/newsletters

Key Points

  • The anticipated Special General Meeting of the MSB will now occur in the 2nd half of 2023
  • The full report from Resolution Resources including the proposed Draft Code will be published on the Review Website. https://nmasreview.com.au/final-recommendations 
  • The chair on behalf of the board makes the point in the update that “Although the Board chose to redraft the NMAS rather than establish a Code administered by a Code Administration Committee, the proposed new standards draw strongly from the review findings.” Read Release 4 for more on the rational for not adopting the Code.

Foreshadowed Changes

The work of Resolution Resources has informed the proposed new standards including delivering:

  • greater clarity and focus in training methods and practice
  • multiple levels of accreditation
  • scope for the introduction of specialisations
  • considerable improvements in complaints handling and disciplinary processes with greater involvement of the MSB in those areas and
  • an overall lifting of training and accreditation standards.

Next Steps

Further releases will be made in the coming months.

2nd March 2023 – update from Christopher Boyle – Mediator Standards Board Chair.

This information is a summary of the update on the review of the National Mediator Accreditation System following earlier releases of October and December 2022. The purpose is to explain the present state of the Board’s response to the review and the next steps. We will continue to provide further updates as the Board’s work progresses.

While I am a Mediator Standards Board member and a member of the NMAS Review and Training Committees, many of the decisions were made before I joined the board late last year. I am not at liberty to disclose the board-level discussions, however I can share with Mediation Institute members the publicly announced updates by the chair to the member organisations of the National Mediator Accreditation System, of which Mediation Institute is one. 

Mediation Institute will provide a link to any information made available on the Mediator Standards Board website. 

Key points 

  •  “As the Board chose to amend or redraft the NMAS rather than accept the recommendation to establish a Code administered by a Code Administration Committee. … The Board’s Review Committee has instead drafted a proposed replacement for the NMAS, drawing on the Resolution Resources documents and the findings of the review. Those findings in turn were based on research and consultation with the mediation community, including surveys and a series of workshops.” Christopher Doyle, MSB Chair

New Accreditation Levels & Related Changes

  • New Accreditation Levels proposed. There will be four levels of accreditation:
    • Accredited Mediator
    • Advanced Mediator
    • Specialist Practitioner
    • Leading Practitioner
  •  Changes to initial accreditation requirements and training:
    • Initial requirement – completion of a Certificate of Training – this is a 45-hour course. 
    • A separate Certificate of Assessment which has prescribed requirements for theory and practical assessment.
  • Changes to the requirements for re-accreditation as an Accredited Mediator.
    • renewal will continue to be required every two years
    • the practice requirements to qualify for renewal will give more credit than at present for such learning experiences as co-mediation, or attending as an observer. This is aimed both at making it easier for newly-qualified mediators to obtain qualifying experience and at encouraging mentorship and other forms of support, to the benefit of all.
  •  The new Advanced Mediator level will require:
    • being an accredited mediator
    • the successful completion of a Practicum Certificate of Training – a further 12 hour workshop course delivered in modules over not more than two months.
    • 40 hours of mediation practice in the preceding two years.
  •  The new Specialist Practitioner level is intended to provide recognition for those whose work is based on mediation basic skills but adds particular expertise in an identifiable field of dispute resolution.  This category may be considered as a lateral level rather than necessarily a higher level than an Advanced Mediator.
    •  the board, on the application of interested groups, will identify and recognise areas of specialisation. 
    • the categories are not presently prescribed but might include Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, Workplace Conciliators and Indigenous Peacemakers.
  • The new Leading Practitioner level will recognise:
    • Eminence as a practitioner
    • contributions to the profession for example mentoring, coaching and related services or
    • contributions to mediation literature
    • a significant period of practice experience

The roll out of the new categories may not occur all at once and appropriate processes to allow presently accredited mediators into the new system at the right level. 

Next Steps

Constitutional changes are required to implement some of the changes. The legal advice and drafting process is currently underway. It is expected that in the first half of 2023 the Mediator Standards Board will call an extraordinary general meeting for the purpose of putting these proposed changes to their member organisations. 

Further updates will be released as work progresses. 

Final Recommendations (nmasreview.com.au) 

The thirty two page document provides a comprehensive overview of the process and recommendations to the Mediator Standards Board (MSB).

Download the document from the Mediator Standards Board Website – NMAS-review-2020-2022-findings-and-recommendations.pdf (msb.org.au)

The board did not accept all recommendations. 

There are three overarching recommendations of the NMAS Review: 

  1. Determine the viability, including ethical implications, of progressing the status of meditation from emerging profession to new profession. 
  2. Adopt a draft code that is modelled on the ACCC voluntary industry framework
  3. Adopt the Draft Code’s training and accreditation framework (TAF)

Targeted recommendations provide a little more detail: 

  •  Targeted Recommendation A:   Determine viability, including ethical implications, of progressing status from emerging profession to new profession.

  •  Targeted Recommendation B:  Adopt the ACCC voluntary industry code framework in preference to any other industry codes.

  •  Targeted Recommendation C: Adopt the draft Code modelled on the ACCC voluntary industry code framework, including requirements for adminstering compliance the training and accreditation framework (TAF)

  •  Targeted Recommendation D: Adopt the draft Code modelled on the ACCC’s voluntary industry code framework and it’s associated three-tier complaints scheme.


  •  Targeted Recommendation E: Adopt the Draft Code’s training and accreditation framework (TAF) to account for the evolution of practice.
  • Targeted Recommendation F: Adopt the Draft Code, in particular, the training and accreditation framework (TAF)
  •  Targeted Recommendation G: The MSB must work directly with First Nations mediators, taking into account issues raised in the First Nations Consultation Memo.
  • Targeted Recommendation H: Adopt the Draft Code’s training and accreditation framework (TAF). This will ensure that training and accreditation framework is in place that recognises the value of cultural experience.
  • Targeted Recommendation I: Adopt the evidence-based D&I strategies set out in the Draft Code, including strategies recommended within the ACCC voluntary industry code framework.
  • Targeted Recommendation J: Adopt the draft Code Definitions.

    Download the report for Rational, the limitations of the NMAS that the recommendation seeks to address and greater detail on the recommendation.

Previous Update from Mediation Institute 31.8.2020

In a press release on the 31st August 2020 the Mediators Standards Board (MSB) announced that Resolution Resources has been awarded the contract to review the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS).


The NMAS sets the professional standards for the training and assessment of mediators throughout Australia. Accreditation as a mediator is administered by Recognised Mediator Accreditation Bodies (RMABs).


Mediation Institute is one of the 25 organisations in Australia offering training to NMAS Standards and one of the 19 organisations that offer both training and assessment and are also a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body. We will be engaging in the review process as actively as we are permitted and keep our members updated with opportunities to engage when, as it appears, the team from Resolution Resources will open up opportunities for wider consultation.


If you would like to find out more about training with Mediation Institute visit our NMAS Course page.



An evidence-based review process


We wish Danielle Hutchinson and Emma-May Litchfield of Resolution Resources all the best in the review and consultation process and hope that it will result in greater clarity in some of the ambiguously drafted clauses in the current version of the NMAS. The team at Resolution Resources say they are excited to be offered the opportunity to lead this very important work. “It provides the chance for us to introduce an evidence based approach to reviewing the NMAS standards that is well established in other disciplines, yet only in its early stages of application in dispute resolution.”

We are excited to see what their interpretation of an evidence-based approach to our industry will be. Bianca Keys says, “Mediation and associated processes are now firmly part of the rich fabric of our society. We must ensure that benchmarks for the training and best practice of mediators evolve and reflect the changing times and include some prefiguring of what is to happen in the future. By engaging independent professionals with advanced research and consultative experience, we hope to build a solid evidence-based approach to this crucial system.”


That sounds all very exciting and something we encourage you to engage with when the opportunities arise. We know that there has been a mass forced digitization for some in the industry and definitely don’t want a post-COVID backlash to muddy the water with regards to the benefits of harnessing modern technology to facilitate mediation in the 21st Century. From the press release, it appears like the MSB has it’s collective eyes firmly fixed on the future with a solid base of evidence of what works. 

Typical Number Of Mediations By Mediator Type

Other information provided in the report:

  • Mediators – majority mode of practice (pre COVID) 63% were face to face, 8% video conferencing, 9% phone and 20% a combination of modes.  There is a table identifying which type of mediator preferred which modes.
  • Specialisations – 92% didn’t work with a specific group or demographic and the largest group for specialisation were with first nations people.

If you haven’t read the NMAS since you completed your training now might be a good time to review it and consider what you think could be clearer, or improved in the current version. You can download the NMAS here.

The NMAS was established in 2008 and had it’s first review in 2015. The MSB press release indicates “With the developing nature of this relatively new profession, the MSB has chosen to revise the accreditation system over the next 12 months to ensure it maintains relevance and keeps up with the pace of change.”


MSB National Chairperson Ms Bianca Keys stated “The review does not equate to a rewrite. Rather, it is designed to address some interpretive, drafting, and operational issues that our members have pointed out in an ongoing series of consultations.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.