Mediation

​"Mediation" means a non-adversarial process in which a neutral third party encourages and helps disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Recommendations by mediators are not binding on the parties unless the parties enter into a settlement agreement incorporating the recommendations.

1998 KRS 446.010 Mediation Defined

Why choose mediation?

  • Promotes a non-adversarial process that may be best for parties who have an on-going or continuing relationship.
  • Parties are in control of the outcome of their case.
  • Provides more options for a win/win solution.

What kinds of cases can be mediated?

The easier question is what should not be mediated. Generally speaking, cases that require a ruling on a question of law, a constitutional interpretation, or some involving domestic violence, are better left to the courts. That means most cases can be settled in mediation. These include but not limited to personal injury, real estate, employment, family and divorce, contract, construction, probate, juvenile offenses, felony offenses, misdemeanor complaints, and medical malpractice.

​To qualify for the Roster of Court-Approved Mediators in Kentucky, an applicant must obtain 40 hours of mediation training and 15 hours of hands-on experience. A mediator can be listed as a general civil and/or family mediator. See Administrative Procedures of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Order 2005-2 for Mediation Guidelines for more information.

After obtaining the required training and experience, an applicant must complete the Application to be Placed on the Mediation Roster and mail it to the Office of Mediation, Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, Ky. 40601 or email it to mediation@kycourts.net.

General Civil Mediation

A Roster mediator who provides general civil mediation services must have the following minimum training and experience:

  • Forty hours of training with an approved mediation training program covering communication skills; conflict resolution theory and practice; mediation theory, practice and techniques; and the court process.
  • Fifteen hours of participation in actual disputes, representing at least three cases, where the mediator is a participating mediator under the guidance of a mediator qualified under the Mediation Guidelines or a mediation training center.

Family Mediation

A Roster mediator who provides family mediation services must have the following minimum training and experience:

  • Forty hours of training with an approved mediation training provider covering conflict resolution, the mediation process, communication skills, the psychological aspects of divorce on families, domestic violence, substance abuse, financial and property issues, paternity, family law, and Family Court or Circuit Court procedures. Family mediators are strongly encouraged to take general mediation training prior to this training.
  • Fifteen hours of mediation experience with parties in actual family disputes, representing at least three cases, where the mediator is a participating mediator under the guidance of a family mediator qualified under the Mediation Guidelines or a mediation training center.

Training Curriculum

General civil mediation training includes the following topics:

  • Overview of alternative dispute resolution processes
  • Principles of mediation
  • Stages and goals of mediation process
  • Role of mediator
  • Nature of conflict/behaviors in conflict
  • Mediation skills, including negotiation skills, interactive listening, question-asking, use of neutral language, reframing, interest identification, addressing barriers to agreement, agreement writing
  • Values and bias awareness
  • Cultural diversity
  • Power imbalance
  • Working with attorneys and representatives of parties

Ethical issues, including confidentiality, impartiality, informed consent, conflict of interest, fees, responsibilities to third parties, advertising and soliciting, withdrawal by mediator

Family mediation training includes the topics listed above plus those pertaining specifically to family cases:

  • Custody
  • Financial support for child and/or spouse
  • Division of property and debt
  • Tax considerations
  • Emotional and cognitive stages of child development
  • Psychological/emotional effects of divorce on children and adults
  • Understanding the cycle and presence of domestic violence

How to Obtain Mediation Training

Mediation training is an investment in professional development and requires a commitment of time and money. Costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on whether an individual chooses an all-volunteer community mediation program or training provided by a public or private organization. In Kentucky, mediation training is available through private training organizations and community mediation programs.

Research training programs carefully to determine the quality of the program. Find out what you can about the type of mediation work the trainers do, the kinds of cases they mediate, how long they been mediating and how many individuals they have trained. It is helpful to know how long the organization has been providing training services.

It is also important to consider the design of the training program. Mediation training typically uses a range of teaching methods, including lecture, large- and small-group discussion, interactive exercise and coached role-playing. Trainings should provide at least three opportunities for a participant to play a mediator in coached role-playing under the supervision of an experienced mediator, who will provide feedback to facilitate learning. Ask about the ethical guidance students will receive, the student-to-teacher ratio, how much time is spent on the various teaching methods and what kinds of training materials will be provided.

In addition to training, a Roster mediator must have 15 hours of participation in actual disputes. This ensures that the newly trained mediator receives valuable feedback from more experienced mediators and further develops the skills and techniques learned in training. Mediation trainers can often provide direction on where newly trained mediators can find opportunities to take part in hands-on mediation.

There are no trainings scheduled at this time.

The ADMENDMENT TO THE RULES OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE AP PART XII. MEDIATION GUIDELINES FOR COURT OF JUSTICE MEDIATIORS as ordered by the Supreme Court of Kentucky on April 12, 2005, Mediation Guidelines, suggest minimum standards for training, experience, education and ethical conduct for mediators practicing in courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Guidelines are intended to promote public confidence in the mediation process. Judges and the public are encouraged to refer to the roster of mediators who voluntarily agree to comply with these Guidelines.

Mediators who choose to comply with the Guidelines and wish to be placed on the roster should complete the Application to be Placed on the Mediation Roster with the Administrative Office of the Courts, Office of Mediation.

Mediators approved and placed on the Roster agree to obtain at least four hours of continuing mediation education every two years. In order to submit that information to receive credit and remain in good standing on the Mediator Roster please complete the Continuing Mediator Education (CME) Reporting Form and return it to the Office of Mediation, Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601. Forms may also be returned electronically to mediation@kycourts.net.

Question: How can I be included on the Mediator Roster?
Answer: Complete the Application to be Placed on the Mediation Roster and return it to the Office of Mediation at the Administrative Office of the Courts. Once your application is approved, your name will be placed on the Roster and you will receive a certificate in the mail.

Question: I have been mediating cases but have not obtained the training suggested in the Guidelines. Can I be on the Roster?
Answer: The Guidelines suggest a minimum of forty hours of training. Section 2(3) Special Provision for Mediators in Practice Prior to Adoption of the Guidelines contemplates some individuals will have been mediating prior to the Guidelines and their qualifications may not match the Guidelines exactly. Therefore, a mediator in this category may be deemed qualified under the Guidelines if certain conditions are met:

  1. The mediator has engaged in a mediation practice prior to the adoption of the Guidelines (April 15, 2005).
  2. The mediator completes The Application to be Placed on the Mediation Roster
  3. The mediator includes a written statement describing equivalent training and experience.

All applications are processed through the Office of Mediation of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Question: What purpose does the Roster serve?
Answer: Mediation is a popular method of resolving disputes today. The purpose of the Guidelines is to provide the judiciary and the general public a list of mediators who have achieved the minimum criteria for training, education, experience, and ethical conduct for mediators outlined in the Guidelines.

Question: How do I, as a mediator, find a mentor?
Answer: The Roster is a list of mediators who are already approved as Court of Justice mediators. Section 3 (18)(c)(iii) of the Guidelines allows experienced mediators to obtain their continuing mediation education credit by co-mediating or supervising new mediators. The Roster of experienced mediators is available at Mediator List. There are also two non-profit mediation services in Kentucky that provide this opportunity to newly trained mediators: Mediation Center of Kentucky, in Lexington, Kentucky, and Just Solutions in Louisville, Kentucky.

Question: If my name is removed from the Roster, how do I get reinstated?
Answer: The Review Committee handles all reinstatement requests on a case-by-case basis. Submit to the Office of Mediation at the Administrative Office of the Courts a letter that includes an explanation of why your name was removed from the Roster and what you have done in mediation since that time. Recommendation letters are desirable.

Question: If I am reinstated by following the above steps, when is my next reporting deadline?
Answer: Your deadline to submit CME credits is on the same schedule as if you had never been absent; unless, there has been a lapse of over 12 months. In that case, your CME reporting schedule will begin from the date of reinstatement.

Question: May I have my name voluntarily removed from the roster at any time?
Answer: To voluntarily remove your name from the Roster, send your request by mail to the Office of Mediation of the Administrative Office of the Courts; by FAX at 502-782-8702; or email us at Contact Mediation. Your name will be removed within ten working days.

Question: I don't have an e-mail address and/or I don't want my contact information posted on the Internet. If it is not on the Internet, how does someone contact me regarding mediation?
Answer: If you do not have, or want, any of your contact information on the Internet for public viewing, the e-mail address for the Office of Mediation will be listed for you. In the event a client requests you by name, the Office of Mediation will notify you with the client's information so that you may initiate contact with them.

Question: Do I have to meet Guidelines to mediate in Kentucky?
Answer: No. The Guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court of Kentucky in the Rules of Administrative Procedure Part XII. Mediation Guidelines for Court of Justice Mediators are suggested minimum criteria for training, experience, education, and ethical conduct for mediators practicing in courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Roster of Mediators is composed of mediators who voluntarily agree to adhere to the Guidelines. Judges and the public are encouraged to refer to this Roster when selecting a mediator.

Question: To remain on the Roster, the Guidelines suggest at least four hours of continuing mediation education every two years from the date of approval to be on the Roster. How can I obtain this?
Answer: Any educational experience that pertains to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may qualify as continuing mediation education (CME). Some ways to obtain continuing mediation education are:

  • Attending, lecturing, or teaching at a live lecture or seminar on a topic related to the practice of mediation;
  • Listening or viewing audio, video, or web-based presentations on a topic related to mediation;
  • Co-mediating or supervising trainees as part of the trainee's mentorship requirements;
  • Participating as a trainer or coach in general or family mediation trainings;
  • Authoring or editing written materials submitted for publication that has significant intellectual or practical content directly related to the practice of mediation.

Question: When does the time period to obtain my four hours of continuing mediator education begin and end?
Answer: Your CME Reporting date begins immediately upon your approval for the roster and ends at the end of the first FULL fiscal year. For example, if you are approved on August 15, 2005, your first CME Report is due by June 30th of the next FULL fiscal year, or June 30, 2007. Thereafter, your next reporting date is two years hence, or June 30, 2009, and so forth.

Question: Once I have obtained the suggested continuing education, how do I submit that information to receive credit and remain in good standing on the Mediator Roster?
Answer: To maintain good standing on the Roster, complete the Continuing Mediator Education (CME) Reporting Form (1054KB-PDF) and return it to the Office of Mediation, Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Question: If I obtain more than four hours of continuing education during a two-year time span, can I carry over the additional hours to be credited towards the next two-year increment?
Answer: No. The continuing education requirement is intended to ensure ongoing professional growth and development. Therefore, it is important that the CME be current. However, you may be able to use the credits to satisfy other professional continuing educational requirements.

Question: What if I miss the deadline for submitting my CME credits?
Answer: We value you as a mediator on the Court of Justice Roster and want to give you every opportunity to comply. However, we must receive your completed CME Report within thirty days after the deadline or your name will be removed from the Roster.

Question: If I am on the Roster as a General Civil Mediator and as a Family Mediator, do I have to obtain separate CME credits to maintain my status for both types of mediation?
Answer: No. You are only required to obtain and submit four CME hours every two years to remain in good standing on the Roster as both a General and Family Mediator.

Question: Will any of the Kentucky Bar Association's CLE's count as CME credits?
Answer: Seminars, or portions thereof pertaining to Alternative Dispute Resolution, also qualify as CME credits.

Question: What is mediation and how does it work?
Answer: Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third party called a mediator facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The process is designed to help disputing parties reach an agreement on all or part of the issues in dispute. Decision-making authority remains with the parties, not the mediator. The mediator assists the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.

Question: What kinds of disputes are appropriate for mediation?
Answer: Mediation has been used successfully in a wide range of civil (and occasionally criminal) disputes, whether or not a court case has been filed. It works best in cases in which the parties want to work out a solution. It is particularly helpful in disputes that require creative, as well as legal solutions or in which there will be a continuing relationship between the parties.

Question: How much does mediation cost?
Answer: Private mediators generally charge $125 - $200 per hour. Sometimes court staff or volunteer mediators are available to mediate at no cost to the parties.

Question: How long does mediation take?
Answer: It can take one hour to many hours - one session to several. It depends on:

  • The number and complexity of issues
  • Number of parties
  • How much you disagree
  • How open you are to try to work things out
  • Your emotions
  • How well you can communicate

Question: Do I have to be an attorney to be a mediator?
Answer: In Kentucky, a mediator is not required to be an attorney. In fact, it is helpful to have mediators from various vocations and backgrounds to serve the diverse types of disputes and parties.

Question: Do I need certain training or certification to mediate in Kentucky?
Answer: You do not need certain training or certification to mediate in Kentucky unless you desire to be included on the Administrative Office of the Court's Roster of Mediators. To be review those requirements, please click the Guidelines for Mediators.

Question: Can I mediate as a full-time vocation?
Answer: Some mediators are fortunate to mediate full-time. Most, however, practice mediation to supplement their income or as meaningful volunteer work.

Question: Is mediation confidential?
Answer: Confidentiality has been well recognized as a necessary means of encouraging full and frank exchanges within mediation sessions. Kentucky's Model Mediation Rules provide for mediation sessions to be completely confidential except in situations where a mediator, like any adult, has a statutory duty to report allegations of neglect and/or abuse.

Question: Why should I use mediation?
Answer: People might choose mediation for many reasons:

  • Mediation may be less confrontational than dealing with the issues in open court litigation or in front of a judge
  • Some people appreciate the privacy and confidentiality of mediation and seek a respectful and cooperative environment in which to make important decisions
  • Mediation can save time and money
  • You decide what issues to try to solve in mediation
  • The mediator does not force or make agreements, you do. If there is no resolution, you still have the option of going to court.

Felony mediation provides an out-of-court and timely procedure to process felony cases through our judicial system. Mediation allows for a facilitated conversation between the prosecutor and the defendant regarding the defendant's case. The process is voluntary and provides cost-effective justice.

A mediator convenes a one-hour conference with the defendant, his attorney, and the prosecutor on a carefully selected case at the local courthouse. Mediators are retired judges who are also trained and experienced in mediation and Kentucky criminal law.

The mediation session lasts one to two hours in duration depending upon the number of defendant's and the issues involved.

Who benefits from felony mediation, and what are the benefits?

  • Court: docket control
  • Commonwealth Attorney: case management
  • Defendant: speedy access to justice; voluntary; chance to be heard by judge without being judged; fair agreements
  • Public Advocate: Case management
  • Crime Victims: may participate in carefully selected cases; opportunity to confront offender in an informal yet safe environment
  • Taxpayer: may reduce the cost of incarceration
  • Jail: reduces risks associated with overcrowded jails

Case Referral and Scheduling

Referrals are made by the presiding judge, the Commonwealth Attorney, and defense attorneys. However, all referrals are approved by the Judge. A request for assignment of a retired judge to mediate a felony case can be made by completing the request form and returning it to retiredjudgeadmin@kycourts.net.

The following is a compilation of legislation, Supreme Court rules and actions pertaining to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Kentucky:

Kentucky Uniform Arbitration Act - 1984 KRS Chapter 417

Arbitration of Labor Disputes Rights of Employees - 1986 KRS 336.700

Lemon Law and Arbitration - 1986 KRS 367.841-844

Kentucky Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Cabinet Mediation Program Act - 1994 KRS Chapter 417

Domestic Relations and Mediation - 1996 KRS 403.036

Mediation for Special Education - 1996 KRS 200.650-676

Public policy in favor of mediation - 1998 KRS 454.011

Mediation Defined - 1998 KRS 446.010

Authority for Personnel Cabinet KEMP (Kentucky Employee Mediation Program) - 2001 KRS 18A.110

Reports of Adult Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation - KRS 209.030 and KRS 209A.030

Duty to Report Dependency, Neglect, Or Abuse - KRS 620.030

​Rule 1. Preamble and Scope

The County Trial Courts find that under some circumstances the process known as mediation may provide an efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation, and, further, that the wise and judicious use of mediation may benefit litigants.

Mediation is intended to help both litigants and the Courts facilitate the settlement of disputes. Litigants should participate in good faith and in an earnest attempt to resolve their differences.

This Rule refers to mediation. Nothing in this Rule shall prohibit parties from resolving disputes through other methods. However, in any case where one party may pose a risk of harm (such as domestic violence) to another party or family member, mediation should not be used.

Rule 2. Mediation defined

Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third person(s) called a mediator facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The process is designed to help disputing parties reach an agreement on all or part of the issues in dispute. Decision-making authority remains with the parties, not the mediator. The mediator assists the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem-solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.

Rule 3. Referral of cases to mediation

At any time on its own motion or on motion of any party, the Court may refer a case or portion of a case for mediation. In this decision, the court shall consider:

  • the stage of the litigation, including the need for discovery, and the extent to which it has been conducted;
  • the nature of the issues to be resolved;
  • the value to the parties of confidentiality, rapid resolution, or the promotion or maintenance of ongoing relationships;
  • the willingness of the parties to mutually resolve their dispute;
  • other attempts at dispute resolution; and
  • the ability of the parties to participate in the mediation process.

Rule 4. No stay of proceedings

Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, mediation shall not stay any other proceedings.

Rule 5. Appointment of mediator

Within fifteen (15) days of referral, the parties shall agree on a mediator or a mediation service. If the parties cannot agree, they shall notify the court, which will select a mediator or a mediation service.

Rule 6. Mediator compensation

The mediator shall be compensated at the rate agreed between the mediator and the parties if the mediator is chosen by agreement. If the mediator is appointed by the Court, the fee for the mediator shall be reasonable and no greater than the mediator's standard rate as a mediator. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the Court, the parties shall equally divide the mediator's professional fees.

Rule 7. Mediation procedure

Following selection of the mediator, the mediator shall set an initial mediation conference within thirty (30) days. The mediation conference shall be held in the county in which the case is pending or at a site agreed upon by the parties. The mediator may meet with the parties or their counsel prior to the mediation conference for the purpose of establishing a procedure for the mediation conference. The mediator may require the parties to submit a confidential statement of the case or other materials that the mediator may reasonably believe appropriate for efficiently conducting the mediation conference.

Rule 8. Attendance at mediation conference

The parties must attend the mediation conference. Counsel shall attend the mediation conference unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and the mediator or ordered by the Court. If a party is a public entity, it shall appear by the physical presence of a representative with full authority to negotiate on behalf of the entity and to recommend settlement to the appropriate decision-making body or officer of the entity. If a party is an organization other than a public entity, it shall appear by the physical presence of a representative, other than the party's counsel of record, who has full authority to settle without further consultation. If any party is insured for the claim in dispute, that party shall also be required to have its insurer(s) present by the physical presence of a representative of the insurance carrier(s) who is not that carrier's outside counsel; this representative must have full settlement authority. The foregoing requirements of attendance may be varied only by stipulation of the parties or by order of the Court for good cause shown.

Rule 9. Completion or termination mediation

The mediator may terminate the mediation conference after a settlement is reached or when the mediator determines that continuation of the process would be unproductive. After the initial mediation conference, mediation shall continue only by the agreement of the parties, their counsel and the mediator, or by order of the Court.

Rule 10. Report to the court

The mediator shall report to the court that the mediation has not occurred, has not been completed, or that the mediation has been completed with or without an agreement on any or all issues. With the consent of the parties, the mediator may also identify those matters which, if resolved or completed, would facilitate the possibility of a settlement.

Rule 11. Agreement

If an agreement is reached during the mediation conference, it shall be reduced to writing and signed by the parties. The parties shall be responsible for the drafting of the agreement, although the mediator may assist in the drafting of the agreement with the consent of the parties.

Rule 12. Confidentiality

  • Mediation sessions shall be closed to all persons other than the parties, their legal representatives, and other persons invited by the mediator with the consent of the parties.

  • Mediation shall be regarded as settlement negotiations for purposes of K.R.E. 408.

  • Mediators shall not be subject to process requiring the disclosure of any matter discussed during the mediation, but rather, such matters shall be considered confidential and privileged in nature except on order of the Court for good cause shown. This privilege and immunity reside in the mediator and may not be waived by the parties.

  • Nothing in this rule shall prohibit the mediator from reporting abuse according to KRS 209.030, KRS 620.030, or other applicable law.

Settlement Week provides timely and cost-effective justice. During Settlement Week, parties and counsel in selected lawsuits meet at the local courthouse for two-hour private settlement conferences conducted by a volunteer mediator. The volunteers are a member of the local bar association who also have mediation training. Settlement Week not only saves parties time and money, it helps alleviate heavy court dockets, and gives the local bar association a successful vehicle for community involvement.

Settlement Week can be adapted to any jurisdiction that meets the above criteria. Forms, procedures, and training materials are available at AOC.

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