Qualifications to Serve as a Court Neutral

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To ensure that our litigants are served by high quality neutrals, certain training and experience requirements are in place. Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge outline the necessary qualifications to serve as a Mediator or Neutral Evaluator with the courts. There are also training and education requirements that apply to all ADR neutrals, not just those covered by Part 146.

Below is a summary of what is required under Part 146 to become a Mediator or Neutral Evaluator in the courts, as well as continuing education requirements for roster members.

 Mediator Qualifications

Mediators with the NYS Unified Court System require basic and advanced mediation training in a course approved under Part 146 as well as experience serving as a mediator. Here is an overview of these requirements: 
 

 24-hour Initial Mediation Training

Basic mediation course approved under Part 146.4(b)(1)

Provides basic skills training and theoretical foundation for mediation as an ADR process.

 16-hour Additional Mediation Training

Advanced mediation course approved under Part 146.4(b)(2)

Provides advanced skills training and relevant lessons on a specific case type.

 Supplemental Training

Additional training required for specific ADR programs 

Provides skills/knowledge necessary for a neutral to provide the proper delivery of ADR services in a specific case type or program. See more on Supplemental Trainings below. 

 Recent Experience

Recent experience mediating actual cases in the subject area of the types of cases referred to them

According to the guidelines, each court and mediation roster will have their own recent experience requirements for new mediators.

One way to get experience after being trained is through an apprenticeship.

NOTE: Some courts may require additional training and experience beyond Part 146’s requirements. Acceptance on a court roster may depend on a court’s need for mediators at any given time and may include a particular court’s need for mediators with specific case-type training or experience 

In addition to these requirements, court mediators must complete six hours of continuing education relevant to their respective practice areas every two years. 

**Apply to serve as a mediator with the court system**

Part 146 Course Approval began October 15, 2010. If you have taken a mediation course before this date, you may apply to serve on a local court roster provided that the training you took otherwise meets the requirements of Part 146. Applicants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Final placement on any court roster is in the discretion of the local Administrative Judge.  
 

 Neutral Evaluator Qualifications

Neutral evaluators who wish to qualify for appointment to a court roster must have specific training and relevant experience as either a lawyer or a judge.
 

 6 hours of Training

Neutral Evaluation course approved under Part 146.4(a)

Covers procedural and ethical matters related to neutral evaluation

 5 years of Substantial Experience

At least 5 years of substantial experience in the specific subject area of the cases that will be referred to them as either:

A judge who served for five years, or 
A lawyer admitted to practice law for 5 years.

In addition to these requirements, neutral evaluators must complete six hours of continuing education relevant to their respective practice areas every two years.

Learn about upcoming training opportunities  

View a list of Part 146 Approved Courses 

 

 Supplemental Training

Certain case types require additional training to ensure that neutrals are properly equipped to serve the parties. The court has set forth the following requirement for supplemental training. 

Family Court and Matrimonial Mediators

Pursuant to Administrative Order 119a/22, all roster mediators who mediate family or matrimonial matters for the court under Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge (22 NYCRR § 146) are required to take an additional four (4) hours of training on how to screen potential mediation cases for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV Screening Training). 

 

 Continuing Education

Ongoing learning is an essential part of sustaining the quality of a neutral's ADR practice. All ADR neutrals serving the court are encouraged to participate in continuing education (CE) opportunities throughout their career. Additionally, the court has set forth the following requirements for the various types of neutrals serving the courts.

All ADR Neutrals

Pursuant to Administrative Order 124/22, starting January 1, 2023 all ADR neutrals who serve the court system (mediators and neutral evaluators serving on court rosters under Part 146, arbitrators and special masters who serve in court-sponsored programs, and neutrals who provide services as a part of the Community Dispute Resolution Center Program) shall  complete at least two (2) hours of anti-bias training every two years. Two of these CE hours may be applied towards the CE requirement prescribed by Part 146.5. Please see our Anti-Bias Training Guidelines for more information. 

Mediators and Neutral Evaluators

Pursuant to Part 146.5 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, mediators and neutral evaluators must attend at least six hours of additional approved training relevant to their respective practice areas every two years. This requirement is intended to ensure that New York State Courts and the public are served by professional, quality neutrals. Please see our Continuing Education Guidelines.

Family Court and Matrimonial Mediators

Pursuant to Administrative Order 119a/22, all roster mediators who mediate family or matrimonial matters for the court are required to take at least two (2) hours of continuing education (CE) on Intimate Partner Violence every two years. These CE hours may be applied towards the CE requirement prescribed by Part 146.5.

 

 Further Information about Part 146

Each court may have additional requirements. You may contact a particular program to find about more about their requirements.   

Questions concerning Part 146 may be directed by e-mail to Part146@nycourts.gov or by telephone (877-Part-146). 

Full Text of Part 146