Selecting an ADR Neutral

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, all Family Matters and FED (evictions) mediations are taking place remotely by video or telephone. Until further notice, mediation will not take place in the courthouse.

In many types of civil and commercial cases in Superior Court, the parties are required to try a form of ADR at an early stage of the case. The form of ADR could be mediation, non-binding arbitration, or early neutral evaluation. In these cases, the parties are responsible for selecting the ADR neutral by agreement.

To assist parties in selecting a neutral, CADRES maintains rosters of neutrals qualified to provide services in different types of cases. However, if all parties and their attorneys agree, the neutral does not need to be from a court roster. The State of Maine does not license or certify mediators, arbitrators, or early neutral evaluators.


Directory of ADR Neutrals


What to look for when selecting a neutral

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 in mediation;
  • experience in conducting ADR processes; and
  • knowledge in the area of the dispute (e.g., environmental, medical malpractice, etc.).

Consider cost

Cost is an important issue. Neutrals in Superior Court civil cases 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 neutrals about the fees they charge. You should reach an agreement on fees and when payment is required before your ADR session is held. As you are negotiating the fee agreement, ask how much time the ADR session is expected to take.

Other important considerations in choosing a neutral 

How soon will the neutral be available to meet with you about your case?

What time of day do you want to schedule ADR? Some neutrals will meet with you only during the day. Some will meet in the evening or on weekends.

What kind of assistance do you want the neutral to provide?

You can choose a neutral who is more likely to direct the discussion, offer possible solutions, and give evaluative feedback, or you can choose one who is likely to spend most of the session listening to you and the other side and encouraging you to suggest options.

Standards for Court-rostered ADR Neutrals

Individuals who provide ADR services in Maine state court cases must meet a number of requirements, including:

See Becoming an ADR Neutral for the Courts for more information.