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Dispute Resolution Section

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The purpose of the Dispute Resolution Section is to promote statewide rules and uniform standards concerning dispute resolution programs; develop and deliver innovative dispute resolution services to Ohio courts; sponsor training programs for judges, court personnel, and dispute resolution professionals; and provide mediation for Supreme Court litigants, Court of Claims litigants, and Ohio public officials. The Section receives advice from and provides assistance to the Commission on Dispute Resolution.


  • Registration for 2022 training programs is open.

OH-Resolve: Ohio's Online Dispute Resolution Pilot Project

Options for Resolving Disputes

Government Conflict Resolution Services

Supreme Court Case Mediation

Commission on Dispute Resolution

Court-connected dispute resolution services, particularly mediation, should be accessible to the citizens of Ohio at no cost to parties. All dispute resolution services should maintain public confidence in the judicial system by handling disputes fairly and with impartiality. Dispute resolution services should preserve citizens' rights and offer the opportunity for parties to resolve their disputes quickly and economically. Courts should utilize community-based dispute resolution services where possible. Courts should evaluate services provided to monitor for quality and participant satisfaction.

The Dispute Resolution Section is accomplishing this vision by assisting courts in developing and sustaining high-quality, dispute resolution services that are accessible to all citizens; continuing to provide technical assistance and training to court-connected dispute resolution staff, judges, magistrates, mediators, parenting coordinators, court personnel, attorneys and other professionals; and will continue to communicate ongoing research regarding innovative dispute resolution processes and resources.

The Dispute Resolution Section provides consulting, training and limited funding support to new and existing court-connected mediation programs. Mediation programs are located in both trial and appellate courts. The section does not provide any direct mediation services.

Mediation is a voluntary process in which a third party neutral, the mediator, assists the parties to a dispute in crafting a resolution that is acceptable to both sides.

Arbitration is a voluntary process in which a third party neutral, the arbitrator, hears the facts of the case and renders a decision that may be binding upon the parties. Parties may agree to arbitration in a contract or after the dispute arises. Court-ordered arbitration in Ohio is mandatory and non-binding. Arbitration is less formal than a court or jury trial.

In mediation, the parties control the outcome or agreement. In arbitration, the arbitrator will make a decision based on the evidence presented. Mediation agreements may be broad while arbitration decisions are limited to the facts presented in the arbitration hearing.

Neither the State of Ohio nor the Supreme Court of Ohio licenses or certifies mediators. The Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Dispute Resolution has advised against certification and licensure because mediation research shows that there is no particular training or educational credential that ensures a good mediator. The Committee supports the use of a variety of approaches, such as training and mentoring, to ensure that mediators are highly skilled.

The Supreme Court of Ohio has established specific guidelines for qualifications for family court mediators. See Rule 16 of the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts at Courts may set additional qualifications for mediators in their local court rules.

The Dispute Resolution Section does certify 40-hour advanced family mediation training that is required under Rule 16 of the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts. Certification of a Training Program does not allow individuals trained in that program to identify themselves as “Supreme Court certified mediators.” Please note that Rule 16 certification does not provide Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. Forms for obtaining CLE approval are available at

The Dispute Resolution Section Events Calendars can be found at

Training information may also be available from national dispute resolution organizations, such as the American Bar Association, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and

Currently, the number of jobs available in mediation appears to be disproportionate to the number of practitioners and the high level of interest in those positions. The typical way to get a job is to obtain basic mediation training and begin practice in a community center, court program or other agency that offers mediation. These initial positions may be as volunteers or contract mediators.

Rule 16 of the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts sets forth some basic requirements for family mediators that are applicable to many kinds of mediation. Specifically, it requires that mediators who mediate allocation of parenting responsibilities have:

a bachelor's degree or equivalent education,
two years of professional experience with families, and
Completion of a basic 12-hour mediation course (or equivalent mediation experience) followed by a 40-hour, specialized family or divorce mediation training. The Supreme Court of Ohio must certify the 40-hour course.
Local courts may require observation of and mentoring with experienced mediators, continuing education for mediators and that those mediators maintain malpractice insurance coverage.

National standards of practice for mediators and ethical guidelines can be found at the following Web sites:

Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators:

Proposed Revised Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (final draft) 12/29/04

Model Standards of Practice for Family Mediators:

Information about trial and appellate court mediation in Ohio can be found at Mediation is available for selected Supreme Court cases. For more information about the Mediation Section, call 614.387.9355.

There are several books available; Mediation Career Guide and Becoming a Mediator are two. These books detail the elements of developing a private mediation practice. Books can be found online at various Web sites of major book retailers.

There are a number of resources that may be accessed to gain insight into the field of mediation and begin the networking process: Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR) and American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution (ABA) In Ohio: Mediation Association of Northeast Ohio; Mediation Information and Resource Center (MIRC); Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (OCRDCM); Ohio Community Mediation Association (OCMA); Ohio Mediation Association (OMA); Ohio Minority Professionals in ADR, contact: Christy Walker 614.462.6147.

Training materials and training programs are offered regularly for court staff and by special arrangement for individual courts and organizations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide training for the general public. To inquire about training for court-connected mediators, contact the Dispute Resolution Section.

You may select a mediator based on a variety of factors—training, experience, cost, location, subject matter or process expertise. See the Consumer's Guide to Selecting a Mediator at Directories of mediators are available from the following:

Ohio State Bar Association Directory of Dispute Resolution Providers at
Ohio Mediation Association at
Ohio Minority Professionals in ADR at 614.462.6147
Local courts and bar associations may also maintain directories or rosters of mediators.

Guiding Principles

In 1991, the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Dispute Resolution recommended the active development of dispute resolution programs for Ohio's courts. The Supreme Court adopted the committee's recommendations and created a special office within the Court. To date, the Dispute Resolution Section has helped establish mediation programs in more than 50 courts and has provided training for hundreds of mediators and attorneys.

Through services it provides, the section helps courts achieve the following goals:

  • Efficient utilization of court resources. Dispute resolution programs offer high-quality services without penalties or inconvenience to citizens and aid in achieving docket reduction.
  • Sustained public funding. Supported primarily by public funds, court-connected programs provide services at little or no cost to citizens.
  • Public confidence. Programs maintain public confidence by handling disputes with fairness, impartiality and confidentiality.
  • Protection of citizens' rights. Programs protect rights to trial and full, complete and fair hearings in court.
  • Utilization of community resources. Courts utilize community-based dispute resolution programs.
  • Continuous improvement. Evaluations of party satisfaction and perceptions of fairness guide program improvement and assure quality.

Program Development and Assistance

The Dispute Resolution Section staff consults with Ohio's trial and appellate courts at no cost to the courts. Services include:

  • Assistance with mediation program planning and design
  • Help in developing local mediation rules, forms and procedures
  • Training about the mediation process and appropriate procedures for mediators, courts, local attorneys and other stakeholders
  • Networking and mentoring assistance for program staff
  • Program-specific consultation regarding the following:
    • Civil Mediation for Common Pleas Courts
    • Parenting Mediation for Domestic Relations and Juvenile Courts
    • Child Protection Mediation for Juvenile Courts
    • Delinquency and Status Offender Programs for Juvenile Courts
    • Truancy Prevention Through Mediation
    • Victim Offender Mediation
    • Small Claims and General Civil Mediation for Municipal and County Courts
    • Mediation for Intermediate Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio

Contact Information

Dispute Resolution Section
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431

Marya Kolman, Esq.

Mediation Counsel:
Anne Thompson, Esq.

Program Coordinator:
Kevin Lottes

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