Selecting a Neutral

How Do I Select a Mediator, Arbitrator or Early Neutral Evaluator for My Superior Court Case?

The court maintains rosters for mediation, early neutral evaluation and arbitration. Qualifications have been established for each of those rosters, and all of the neutrals on the roster meet these requirements. The Directory of ADR Neutrals on Superior Court Rosters is available on this website. The list of mediators on the Directory of District Court Civil Litigation Mediation Roster and Land Use/Environmental Mediation Roster are also available on this website.

In superior court cases, you may choose a neutral who is not on the roster if all parties and counsel agree.

If you cannot agree on a neutral, and the judge is required to appoint one, the judge will designate a neutral from one of the court rosters.

When choosing a neutral for your ADR process, you should review the neutral's professional background and style of practice. Credentials that are often important in choosing a neutral include the following:

  • professional background (law, accounting, counseling etc.)
  • training , especially formal training for mediation
  • experience in conducting ADR processes
  • knowledge in the area of the dispute (e.g., environmental, medical malpractice)

Cost is an important issue. Neutrals set their own fees. Some charge an hourly rate, and some charge a "flat" fee. Often, the fees are split between the parties. As part of your initial consultation, be sure to ask the neutral how much he or she charges. In advance of your ADR session, you should reach an agreement on fees and when payment is required. As part of the fee agreement, ask how much time the ADR session is expected to take.

Other important considerations in choosing a neutral are:

  1. how soon a neutral may be available to meet with you about your case
  2. what time of day you want to schedule ADR
  3. the neutral's own style of practice.

Some neutrals will meet with you during the day only, and some will also meet in the evening or on weekends. You can choose a neutral who is more likely to direct the discussion, or one who is likely to spend more time listening to you.

The State of Maine does not license or certify mediators, arbitrators or early neutral evaluators.

Some organizations in Maine, such as the Maine Association of Mediators (MAM), provide a listing of ADR practitioners. You can view that list by visiting its website at http://www.mainemediators.org. A regional ADR group, the New England Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution, also maintains a listing at www.neacr.org.

In Family Matters, Small Claims and Forcible Entry and Detainer (eviction) cases, the court schedules a mediator for you.