Information for Panel Members and Applicants
Information for ADR Panel Members and Applicants
This page provides information for ADR Neutral Panel Members and potential applicants for the Court's ADR Panels. The Court is currently accepting applications for the Judicial Arbitration and Civil Mediation Panels. Applicants should carefully read the Program Guidelines for a panel prior to completing and submitting an application.
1. Qualifications and Requirements for Probate Mediation Panel Members
To qualify for appointment to the Probate Mediation Panel, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:
- California Bar Membership. The applicant must be a member in good standing of the California Bar for a minimum of ten (10) years.
- Training. The applicant must have successfully completed at least thirty (30) hours of mediator training from a recognized provider. The thirty (30) hours must include:
- At least one basic/introductory mediator training course consisting of ten (10) hours of classroom training and ten (10) hours of experiential training (e.g., role playing), and
- At least five (5) hours of advanced training or specialized training.
- Applicants with extensive experience in handling estates, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships may seek a waiver of some or all of the training requirements. Waiver requests will be considered and decided by the judges assigned to the Probate and Mental Health Panel.
- Experience The applicant must have conducted at least eight (8) mediations of two (2) hours or more in duration during the past three (3) years. Specifically:
- Those mediations should fall within five (5) general categories which include:
- Decedent’s Estates,
- Conservatorships (General or Limited),
- Guardianships, and
- Settlement Conferences conducted as mediations after completion of training.
It is preferred, but not required, that the applicant have conducted at least two (2) mediations in each of the five categories.
- Only “co-mediations” conducted through a recognized community based mediation center that utilizes a “co-mediation model” may be applied toward the experience requirement.
- Arbitrations that become mediations or “med-arb” may not be included.
- “Mediations” refers to the number of cases mediated, not the number of mediation sessions.
- Those mediations should fall within five (5) general categories which include:
- Disclosure, Disqualifications and Record Keeping Requirements.
- Applicants must agree to comply at all times with California Code of Civil Procedure §170.1 and California Rules of Court rule 10.781(b)(1).
- All disclosures and disqualifications must be in writing and the writing must be maintained for four (4) years following completion of the mediation.
- Mediators must have the disclosures and disqualifications documents available to the Court upon request.
- Failure to fulfill these requirements is grounds for the mediator’s termination from the program.
- Place of Business. Mediators must maintain a mediation practice or place of business within Orange County (including an Orange County business address and phone number) and conduct all sessions in facilities that are considered professional and appropriate for mediation by the court (i.e., mediation offices, law firms, or other appropriate conference room facilities).
- References. Applicants must provide three references. Two references must be from a person who appeared before the applicant in a mediation (as a party or attorney). The third reference may be from a person who is familiar with the applicant’s mediation skills.
- Criminal/Disciplinary Actions. Applicants must notify the Court and provide a written explanation if the applicant has ever been:
- charged with, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or convicted of, a felony or a misdemeanor; or
- suspended or subject to disciplinary action as a result of an investigation from any professional organization, public entity or mediation program.
The Court will take the explanation and circumstances under consideration as it reviews the applications.
- Vexatious Litigant. The applicant must not have been declared a vexatious litigant.
- Insurance. The applicant must have or agree to obtain professional liability insurance covering services as a mediator. Mediators must file their Certificate of Insurance by January 15 of each year, or within thirty (30) days of acquiring insurance.
- Pro Bono Services. Mediators must agree to serve as a mediator on a pro bono or modest-means basis in at least one case per year, not to exceed eight (8) hours, if requested by the Court (CRC 10.781(b)(2)).
- Web Site. Mediators must permit the court to place mediator information on the court’s web site, and in the Court’s mediator directories and listings.
- Advertisement. A mediator may indicate in his or her marketing materials that she or he is a member of the Court’s panel but may not indicate that he or she is approved, endorsed, certified or licensed by the Court.
2. Maintaining Panel Status
To maintain status as a Probate Mediation Panel member, mediators must:
- Provide the court with a current and updated Orange County address and biographical information, including the Orange County address of the ADR firm or agency that handles administration for the mediator and direct contact information for the mediator, including phone number and email address.
- Have mediated at least one case referred under the Probate Mediation Program within the past twenty four (24) months. The operative date to determine mediation will be the date of referral and not the date the case was actually mediated.
- Complete four (4) hours of approved continuing education annually focused on mediation skills, process and standards. At least one hour of continuing education should focus on disclosure and disqualification issues.
- Comply with the court’s procedures regarding mediation timelines, case administration, party notification, post mediation paperwork and program evaluation.
- Promptly notify the court in writing if declared a vexatious litigant, the subject of any criminal proceedings (except infractions) or of any proposed or pending disciplinary action by any professional organization, public entity, or mediation program.
- All mediators on the Probate Mediation Panel must abide by the following payment schedule:
- $300.00 for up to the first two (2) hours of the mediation session (the “initial period”); and
- the mediator’s individual hourly rate for mediation services beyond the initial period.
- The $300.00 fee for the initial period applies to actual mediation session hours, including any supplemental discussions between the mediator and one or more of the parties during this period. Mediators may not charge any additional fees for intake, scheduling, administration, preparation, case evaluation or brief review time or for the securing of mediation facilities associated with the initial period. Violation of this provision may result in the immediate removal of the mediator from the Probate Mediation Panel.
- Mediators may not require more than the $300 fee for the initial period as a deposit prior to beginning the mediation session. Mediators may retain this deposit if the cancellation was made less than two (2) court days prior to the scheduled date for the initial period.
- Mediators will be compensated directly by the parties. The fees and expenses of the mediator must be shared equally by the parties, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Mediators will be responsible for the collection of fees. The court will not assist with collection or other fee dispute issues pertaining to mediation under the Probate Mediation Program.
- Mediators must declare their individual hourly rates and any deposit or cancellation policies in their mediator profile. In addition, parties must be notified in writing upon receiving a referral from the court and prior to the beginning of the first mediation session of the mediator’s hourly rate and any deposit, cancellation or other policies.
4. Case Limits
The Court may impose case limits under the Probate Mediation Program depending on the mediator’s caseload. In no instance will a mediator be assigned more than one hundred (100) active cases at any one time.
5. Panel Descriptions and Lists
In accordance with California Rules of Court rule 10.781(a), the Mediator Panel Listing, Subject Area Experience Listing and Mediator Profiles are maintained in the Probate Clerk’s Office at the Costa Mesa Justice Complex, and on the Court’s ADR web pages.Although the Court will make the mediator profiles and the subject area experience listing available to the parties to assist in their selection, the court does not independently examine or guarantee the designation of “subject area experience” on the subject area experience listing. Mediators are expected to be entirely candid and accurate in the representation of their background and areas of experience.
6. Mediation Facilities.
- It is the expectation of the Court that each mediator on the Probate Mediation Panel will maintain a mediation practice or primary place of business in Orange County. It is also expected that all sessions will be conducted in facilities that are professional and considered appropriate for mediation (i.e., mediation offices, law firms, or other appropriate conference room facilities).
- Mediators are expected to arrange their own mediation facilities.
- Mediators must ensure that the mediation location can accommodate persons with disabilities. Written guidance concerning the responsibility of mediators to provide disability accommodation can be found at:
Any probate mediation panel member may resign at any time by communicating in writing with the ADR Administrator, with the understanding that all cases referred to the mediator will be completed and all forms and program-related materials will be submitted to the Court.
- It is a goal of the Court to encourage excellence in mediation practice by setting guidelines, policies and procedures that promote honesty, impartiality and integrity in mediation. The California Rules of Court outline the Court’s expectation that mediators will conduct themselves in accordance with the highest ethical standards. Mediators on the probate mediation panel will be expected to comply with all requirements outlined by the Guidelines, Policies and Procedures, and the Rules of Court.
- Mediators serve at the pleasure of the Court and may be removed from the probate mediation panel at any time at the sole discretion of the Court without cause.
- The Court may use informal or formal means to deal with complaints and/or issues relating to panelist and maintaining excellence in the practice of mediation under the Probate Mediation Program. If a complaint against a mediator is made, the Court will determine whether the mediator will be removed from the active list pending investigation of the complaint. Please refer to Orange County Superior Court’s local rules concerning disciplinary/grievance proceedings.
- In the event a mediator does not comply with the provisions of these guidelines in order to maintain panel status, the Court may remove the mediator for noncompliance. Once removed, the mediator will be required to submit a new application when the Court is accepting such applications and must be approved by the judges assigned to the Probate and Mental Health Panel in order to again be placed on the Probate Mediation Panel.